Ford Motor Corp [F-NYSE} has announced a series of deals to buy lithium from projects held by Albemarle Corp. [ALB-NYSE] and Nemaska Lithium, a company owned equally by Investissement Quebec and Livent (LTHM-NYSE).
Ford has struck a long-term deal with Nemaska Lithium for supply of lithium products, including lithium hydroxide over an 11-year period. The agreement calls for the delivery of up to 13,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide annually. The agreement also provides that prior to starting deliver of lithium hydroxide produced in Becancour, Que., Nemaska Lithium will supply Ford with spodumene concentrate from its Whabouchi mine. Nemaska Lithium’s integrated project is planned to be the first one to produce lithium hydroxide in Quebec.
“We are proud to work with Nemaska Lithium and its partners, Livent and Investissement Quebec,’’ said Lisa Drake, Ford’s Vice-President of EV Industrialization, Model e.
Meanwhile, Albemarle said it has reached a definitive agreement with Ford to deliver battery grade lithium hydroxide to support the auto giant’s ability to scale electric vehicle production.
Albemarle will supply more than 100,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide for approximately three million future Ford EV batteries. The five-year deal starts in 2026 and continues through 2030.
Both Albemarle and Ford are committed to supplying the U.S. EV supply chain via lithium hydroxide domestically produced in the U.S. or originating in a country with a U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
“With the growing demand for EVs in the U.S., our customers are seeking to regionalize their supply chain for greater security, sustainability and lower costs,’’ said Eric Norris, President of Albemarle Energy Storage.
In addition to the lithium hydroxide supply, Albemarle and Ford will explore collaborations to develop a closed-loop solution for lithium-ion battery recycling. Albemarle said it will supply lithium hydroxide sourced only from mines that have been accredited through an audit based on the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), a comprehensive standard developed by NGOs, affected local communities, among others.
Ford has also inked a separate supply deal with Chile’s SQM.
Albemarle recently said it expects China’s electric vehicle market to jump 40% this year, or at least by 3.0 million vehicles, boosting demand for the battery metal in the world’s leading auto market.
Such forecasts are driving governments and auto makers in the U.S. and Canada to make large investments in a bid to develop home grown lithium supply chains in support of their clean energy and climate change goals.
Piedmont Lithium [PLL-NASDAQ, ASX], for example, is aiming become one of the largest North American lithium hydroxide producers by processing concentrates produced from assets that include an open pit mine in Quebec.
Two years ago, Piedmont acquired an equity interest in another Australian company Sayona Mining Ltd. [SYA-ASX, SYAXF-OTCQB], and a 25% stake in Sayona Quebec, an entity that owns the assets North American Lithium (NAL), including a former open pit spodumene mine and concentrator located in La Corne, northwest of Val d’Or, Que. Sayona Mining owns the other 75% in Sayona Quebec.
Piedmont has pledged to deliver spodumene concentrate produced at NAL to both Tesla Motors Ltd. [TSLA-NASDAQ] and Korean chemical company LG Chem Ltd.