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Making batteries for new electric vehicles will require more than 300 new mines


Hummer EV Pickup 2022 will use GM's giant Ultium battery pack to power 3 electric motors.

Hummer EV Pickup 2022 will use GM’s giant Ultium battery pack to power 3 electric motors.
image: Synthetic engine

The major automakers seem to agree that EVs is the industry’s next step, but lack of material will be the next hurdle the industry has to overcome.

Demand for raw materials and metals used to make EV batteries such as graphite, lithium, cobalt and nickel has exceeded supply. Based on Benchmark Analysts, unless 384 new mines are set up and operational in the next 10 years, the EV transition will be an indefinite transition as automakers struggle to find supplies. metal for battery.

The Ultium battery has 24 modules but uses less cobalt than previous EVs with an estimated range of 329 miles.

The Ultium battery has 24 modules but uses less cobalt than previous EVs with an estimated range of 329 miles.
Picture: Synthetic engine

If automakers and state governments want to achieve a zero-emissions future no later than 2035, the world will have to open at least 74 lithium mines, 62 cobalt mines, 72 nickel mines, 97 graphite mines natural and 54 synthetic graphite plants, such as Benchmark illustration.

That adds up to 359 mines and factories, about the average of the number of low (336) and high (384) mines needed, taking into account the supply of recycled materials. This is bad news for those hoping that recycled metal will bring anywhere close to all the necessary materials – car brand consists of.

There’s just no getting around the fact that millions of tons of raw materials will have to be extracted to meet demand. In 2022, global lithium supply was at 747,000 tons, but analysts say demand will have increased to a whopping 4.4 million tons by the end 2035. For reference, global lithium reserves max out at 14 million tons, according to estimates from Volkswagen.

While demand is reported to grow to 4.4 million tons over 10 years, lithium mines can take around 5 years to build to full capacity, so starting construction early will help prevent a hurricane. impending lithium fever.

Image for article titled Making batteries for all these electric vehicles will require over 300 new mines

image: John Moore (beautiful pictures)

Lithium mining projects to be notorious to skip environmental assessments, which only adds to the urgency: it’s better to start early and do it as safely as possible, rather than waiting for the last minute and rushing important impact studies. But that still leaves the problem of demand spikes over the next decade or so, for which existing mines are unprepared.

Immediately, Australia (Not Chile) is the largest supplier of ore-mined lithium, which is mined from spodumene in more than 13 mines. Benchmark said Australia will dominate the lithium trade for the next ten years. But China easily dominates lithium processing, refining more than 75% of the supply.

America said they no longer want to depend on China for lithium; it plans to start its own mining and processing projects, driven by possible new investments and domestic sourcing requirements in Inflation Reduction Act.

Given the sheer number of mines needed, the United States may have the opportunity to open one or two or more mines. It’s not yet clear how many new lithium mines there are in the US, but no matter where they are built, the bottom line is that the world will need more mines. Lots of them.

Image for article titled Making batteries for all these electric vehicles will require over 300 new mines

image: Gaston Brito Miserocch (beautiful pictures)



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