GM to collaborate with Queensland Pacific Metals for nickel and cobalt supply

United States automotive firm General Motors (GM) announced it has entered a collaboration agreement with Australia-based miner Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) for nickel and cobalt sulfate supply

According to the agreement, announced on Tuesday 11 October, GM will invest up to $69 million in QPM for the development of its Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) facility in Northern Australia, from which it will produce nickel and cobalt sulfate, both of which are key to producing nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathodes.

The move comes as GM seeks to secure its supply of battery materials to support its electric vehicle (EV) capacity goal of 1 million units by the end of 2025.

The nickel and cobalt secured through the agreement will be used in GM’s portfolio of trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans and luxury vehicles, the automotive company 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,” GM vice president for global purchasing and supply chain Jeff Morrison said.

The agreement, Morrison added, is part of GM’s efforts to strengthen supplier relationships and to support responsible sourcing and supply chain management.

QPM has obtained the rights to use the “DNi process” patented by Altilium group, which will allow the company to process nickel laterite ore, imported from New Caledonia, without the requirement of tailings dams.

The Australian metal producer has already secured offtake agreements with South Korean firms LG Energy Solutions and POSCO.

The agreement is yet another in an increasing number of strategic supply agreements by automotive firms seeking to secure key battery raw material supplies as the energy transition ramps up and EV production increases. The agreement comes just one day after fellow EV producer Stellantis also announced an agreement for nickel and cobalt supply.

Nickel sulfate prices under pressure

International nickel sulfate prices have been under pressure in recent months, with dampened short-term demand putting pressure on prices and premiums.

Fastmarkets assessed the price of nickel sulfate, cif China, Japan and Korea at $5,413 per tonne on Monday October 3, up slightly due to higher underlying LME prices but still down by 31% from its peak in May.

Fastmarkets is currently holding an open consultation on its proposal to increase the frequency of its nickel sulfate cif China, Japan and Korea price assessments from monthly to weekly. The consultation is open until Monday October 17.

To provide feedback on this proposed amendment to nickel sulfate cif China, Japan and Korea prices, or if you would like to provide price information by becoming a data submitter, please contact Callum Perry by email at: pricing@fastmarkets.com. Please add the subject heading “FAO: Callum Perry/Juliet Walsh, re: nickel sulfate cif China, Japan and Korea.”

To see all Fastmarkets’ pricing methodology and specification documents go to https://www.fastmarkets.com/ about-us/methodology.

What to read next
Fastmarkets has launched its MB-NIO-0006 laterite ore with 1.3% Ni content, cif China price assessment on Friday April 12.
Nickel premiums stayed flat around the world amid quiet trading in the week to Tuesday April 9.
Stocks of base metals in Shanghai bonded warehouses showed mixed fortunes in March, Fastmarkets has learned
Cobalt standard grade prices were stable in the week ended Friday April 5, due to poor demand for cobalt intermediates following price increases in early February amid tight supply in Europe.
The most recent financial results published by base metals mining companies highlight just how inflation is affecting profit margins, with increasing wages, financing costs and input prices all hitting profits, sources told Fastmarkets in the week to Thursday March 28
The publication of Fastmarkets’ US base metals prices were published early during the week of March 11-15 following the daylight saving time change in the US on March 10.