Ford Motor said on Monday it signed a preliminary deal to purchase lithium from a Lake Resources NL facility in Argentina, marking the first time the automaker has made the announcement where it will procure the electric vehicle battery metal.
The deal is a major bet by the automaker on direct lithium extraction (DLE), a relatively new type of technology that filters the metal from brines and use far less acreage than open-pit mines and evaporation ponds.
General Motors, BMW, Stellantis NV and other Ford competitors have inked supply deals of their own with companies preparing to use DLE technology.
Ford plans to buy 25,000 tonnes annually of white metal from Lake’s Kachi project in northern Argentina, which is being developed with Lilac Solutions Inc.
The agreement between Lake and Ford is nonbinding and would require it to be finalized to include a particular delivery timetable.
Lilac’s technology utilizes 10 tonnes of water for every tonne of lithium produced.