Carmakers will “need to become miners” – Benchmark 

Normalize carmakers mining. Stock image.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s inaugural Battery Megafactories Europe 2022 event in Berlin concluded with a stark warning to automakers.

According to the London-HQ firm, among the key takeaways from the event, which was not open to the press, is the huge raw material gap that has opened up amid the furious battery factory buildout taking place globally:

  • Even in the most optimistic scenarios where every single raw material project in the pipeline comes on stream and existing operations expand aggressively, there will not be enough raw material for the battery supply chain as we go into 2030;
  • Lack of supply is not due to any geological constraints, but a simple lack of capital investment to build the mines of tomorrow;
  • Benchmark forecasts that lithium chemical supply will be in a deficit of over 300,000 tonnes by 2030, with nickel sulphate supply set to fall short of demand by nearly 400,000 tonnes, cobalt by over 75,000 tonnes and flake graphite by nearly 2 million tonnes by the end of the decade;
  • Both lithium and cobalt face medium-term challenges to meeting automotive consumer ambitions; raw material constraints will prevent battery production topping the 1 TWh threshold until 2025.

Benchmark founder Simon Moores stressed that automakers  will “need to become miners” and only bringing downstream capacity to market will not be sufficient to feed the booming EV battery supply chain.

Moores added that the lithium and nickel price spikes seen recently are an indication that OEM’s raw material fears are materialising and the chaos seen in nickel trading on the LME is adding to calls for new pricing mechanisms. 

Benchmark’s USA gigafactory event is scheduled for 23–24 June in Washington DC.