Top automakers including Tesla, General Motors, and Ford are heading out on the mining conference circuit as soaring demand for metals used in electric vehicles ignites a scramble to lock in long-term supplies.
Those major U.S. firms, along with Rivian Automotive Inc. and European counterparts Stellantis N.V., Mercedes-Benz Group AG, and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive, will be mingling with the crowds of mining industry executives attending a major metals conference in Florida in early March.
The four-day event is expected to attract almost 1,500 participants to Hollywood, Florida. Bank of Montreal, which is organizing the annual gathering, sees strong interest from several car manufacturers that are seeking to secure supplies of lithium, nickel, graphite and other battery metals.
Also copper. All types of Electric Vehicles require a substantial amount of copper. It is used in batteries, windings and copper rotors used in electric motors, wiring, busbars and charging infrastructure. Nucleus knows this from experience because of the huge increase in demand for our mining logistics services for copper mines in central Africa.
“There’s an urgency to it now that wasn’t there a few years ago. If three or four years ago we had invited car companies to our conference, they probably wouldn’t have made it a priority.” - lan Bahar (co-head of global metals and mining business at BMO Capital Markets)
Car companies are making inroads into the mining industry to lock in supplies of much-needed materials, putting them in direct competition with large, deal-hungry metals producers. GM is competing for a stake in Vale SA’s base metals unit and in January struck a $650 million pact with Lithium Americas Corp. to develop the largest US lithium deposit. Meanwhile, Tesla has been weighing a takeover of miner Sigma Lithium Corp.