General Motors and mining firm Lithium Americas have announced a joint investment to develop the Thacker Pass mine in Nevada, the largest lithium source in the U.S. and third largest globally.
Under the deal, GM will invest $650 million in Lithium Americas, representing the largest investment by an automaker in battery raw materials. The mine is expected to produce enough lithium for up to 1 million electric vehicles (EV) per year.
The investment will be split into two tranches, with the first tranche to be held in escrow until certain conditions are met, including a pending court ruling. The funds are expected to be released by the end of 2023, enabling GM to become a shareholder in Lithium Americas.
The second tranche will be made into Lithium Americas’ U.S. lithium business following the separation of its U.S. and Argentina businesses, subject to similar conditions, including Lithium Americas securing sufficient funding for Thacker Pass.
“GM has secured all the battery material we need to build more than 1 million EVs annually in North America in 2025 and our future production will increasingly draw from domestic resources like the site in Nevada we’re developing with Lithium Americas,” GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra said. “Direct sourcing critical EV raw materials and components from suppliers in North America and free-trade-agreement countries helps make our supply chain more secure, helps us manage cell costs, and creates jobs.”
Lithium is a key material in lithium-ion batteries, which offer fast charging, higher energy density, and more usable capacity than other battery types. Lithium carbonate from Thacker Pass will be used in GM’s Ultium battery cells. (more of this story after the links below)
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GM plans to launch a wide range of SUVs, trucks, luxury vehicles and light commercial vehicles utilizing the Ultium platform. These include the GMC Sierra EV, GMC Hummer EV Pickup and SUV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Cadillac CELESTIQ, Chevrolet Blazer EV, BrightDrop Zevo 400, Chevrolet Equinox EV and BrightDrop Zevo 600.
Production at Thacker Pass is expected to commence in the second half of 2026 and create 1,000 jobs in construction and 500 in operations. GM will receive exclusive access to Phase 1 production via binding supply agreement and the right of first offer on Phase 2 production after the closing of the first tranche investment.
“The agreement with GM is a major milestone in moving Thacker Pass toward production, while setting a foundation for the separation of our U.S. and Argentine businesses,” said Lithium Americas President and CEO Jonathan Evans. “This relationship underscores our commitment to develop a sustainable domestic lithium supply chain for electric vehicles. We are pleased to have GM as our largest investor, and we look forward to working together to accelerate the energy transition while spurring job creation and economic growth in America.”
GM plans to produce 160 GWh of battery cells annually through four U.S. plants, including the Ultium Cells joint venture with LG Energy Solution in Warren, Ohio, which is operational, and additional JV sites in Spring Hill, Tennessee and Lansing, Michigan that are expected to open in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The first three plants are expected to create 6,000 construction jobs and 5,000 operational jobs.
GM is currently constructing EVs in one Tennessee, one Ontario and two Michigan plants, and its suppliers are investing to establish a strong North American supply chain for EV raw materials, processed material and components, with ongoing projects in California, Texas, Ohio and Quebec.