OEMs ‘fail to understand need to source EV battery raw materials’ – by Steve Garnsey (Automotive Logistics – December 23, 2019)


OEMs and companies in the automotive supply chain show a lack of comprehension of how serious the situation is in accessing key metals required for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, according to Scott Williamson, managing director of Australian mineral explorer and mine developer Blackstone Minerals.

“I don’t think they [the automotive industry] understand how critical and difficult it is to get hold of these metals,” he told Automotive Logistics.

“There’s a disconnect between the amounts of money at the automotive level and what comes down to us,” he added. “If the money doesn’t come down to the mining level, there will be no EV revolution.”

Of the key input materials, lithium and manganese are the most plentiful around the world and do not present a sourcing problem. But 80% of cobalt is in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where a change of president could lead to a threat to the security of supply, Williamson said.

The greater problem is with nickel, which he described as amazingly difficult to find. And when the metal is produced, EV battery makers will be competing with the long-established – and still growing – stainless steel market. It consumes 95% of all nickel.

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