GM Signs Collaboration Agreement with Queensland Pacific Metals for Aussie Nickel

Published on: 12 October 2022
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After making a strategic investment in Queensland Pacific Metals in Australia, General Motors Co. has secured a new source of cost-competitive nickel and cobalt for Ultium battery cells.

The nickel laterite ore will be processed using a new and patented technology that will help reduce waste while eliminating the need for a tailings dam. As part of the deal to build the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) Project in Northern Australia, GM plans to invest up to $69 million in Queensland Pacific Metals. 

Queensland Pacific Metals' nickel and cobalt will be used to power a variety of GM trucks, SUVs, vans, and luxury vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and SUV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Blazer EV, and Chevrolet Equinox EV.

Jeff Morrison, GM vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, said: 

"The collaboration with Queensland Pacific Metals will provide GM with a secure, cost-competitive, and long-term supply of nickel and cobalt from a free-trade agreement partner to help support our fast-growing EV production needs. Importantly, the agreement demonstrates our commitment to building strong supplier relationships and is aligned with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management."

Stephen Grocott, CEO, Queensland Pacific Metals, said: 

"We are absolutely delighted to collaborate with General Motors. GM’s strategic direction, company values, and focus on sustainability in its pursuit of making electric vehicles for all is a perfect fit for Queensland Pacific Metals and our TECH Project. GM’s investment in our company and the associated offtake brings us one step closer towards the construction of the TECH Project where we will one day aim to deliver the world’s cleanest produced nickel and cobalt. "We appreciate GM's confidence in our TECH project and look forward to joining the GM sustainably sourced raw material supply chain."

Queensland Pacific Metals' proposed TECH Project will be a major source of high-quality, innovative battery materials. The high-purity, eco-friendly battery materials refinery is being built to meet the growing demand for nickel and cobalt, which are used in batteries for electric cars.

High-grade nickel laterite ore will be brought in from nearby New Caledonia to be processed at the TECH facility using the DNi Process, a patented refining and recycling process that, according to Queensland Pacific Metals, uses eco-friendly methods to get nickel, cobalt, and other precious metals out of laterite.

Altilium Group has granted Queensland Pacific Metals the licence to use the DNi Process. It has more than 98% nitric acid recycling, no tailings dam needs, and produces less waste than typical extraction procedures. Construction on the TECH Project is expected to begin in 2023.

"GM already has binding agreements securing all battery raw materials, supporting our goal of 1 million units of annual capacity in North America by the end of 2025. This new collaboration builds on those commitments as we look to secure supply through the end of the decade while also helping continue to expand the EV market," said Morrison.

Source: GM

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