Vehicle OEM GM Motors is hoping to secure a domestic supply of lithium after signing a deal with US-headquartered Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR).
The strategic investment and commercial collaboration will see CTR supply GM with lithium produced from the company’s Hell’s Kitchen Lithium and Power development project in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field in Imperial, California.
GM has said “a significant portion” of its future battery-grade lithium hydroxide and carbonate could come from CTR's Hell's Kitchen development.
GM made the first multi-million-dollar investment in CTR's Hell's Kitchen development to secure first rights to purchase lithium produced from the first stage of the project, including an option for a multi-year relationship.
CTR expects to start delivery of lithium from its first stage facilities in 2024.
Rod Colwell, CTR’s chief executive officer, said: “GM has shown great initiative and a real forward-thinking strategy by securing and localising a lithium supply chain while also considering the most effective methods to minimise environmental impacts.
“World-wide growth in electric vehicle adoption has highlighted the critical need to develop a strong and secure battery supply chain in the United States.
“CTR is fully committed to developing its significant lithium resource in response to this, and we look forward to collaborating with GM as we continue to accelerate these efforts.”
CTR’s lithium resource at the Salton Sea in California is one of the largest known lithium brine resources in North America.
CTR’s closed-loop, direct lithium extraction process uses renewable power and steam— significantly reducing the time to produce battery-grade lithium products and eliminating the need for overseas processing.
The brine, after lithium extraction, is returned to the geothermal reservoir deep within the earth.