Reflecting a trend of agreements electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are making directly with mineral suppliers, global automaker Stellantis has teamed with Australian exploration and development company Alliance Nickel to secure nickel and cobalt sulphate resources, elements key to EV battery production.
The agreement is the latest of several such arrangements Stellantis has pursued for stable sources of EV-critical elements crucial to company plans to reach carbon net zero by 2038.
The company has also partnered with McEwen Copper in Argentina, Terrafame in Finland, German-Austrian mining company Vulcan Energy, Australia’s Element 25 and Controlled Thermal Resources in the U.S.
Other global auto manufacturers, in setting sustainability targets involving EVs, have forged such agreements. For example, Honda partnered with Japanese firm Hanwa Co. According to a National Public Radio report, GM, BMW, Volkwagen and Tesla have all arranged partnerships with a variety of mines, exploration companies and traders in mineral-rich countries around the world.
Australia is among the globe’s top five nickel-producing countries with Indonesia, Philippines, New Caledonia, and Russia. The nation is also one of the world’s top sources of cobalt, following the Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Russia.
Alliance will provide Stellantis 170,00 tons of nickel sulphate and 12, 000 tons of cobalt sulphate over an initial five-year period. The minerals tonnage represents about 40% of forecast annual production of the NiWest Nickel-Cobalt Project in Western Australia.
In addition, Stellantis will purchase €9.2 million (AUD15 million) in new equity in Alliance Nickel, giving it an 11.5% shareholding on completion and rights to nominate one director to the Alliance board.
Funds from the equity purchase will be applied to the completion of the NiWest Project Definitive Feasibility Study and engineering design works, expected in the last quarter of 2023.