Toyota takes stake
Scott Deveau - MONTREALGAZETTE
- January 21, 2010
Will Toyota step it up wtih something more useful than the planned 40mi range city car it says it will lease? --Ed.
The race to control the lithium supply chain is in high gear as auto manufacturers ramp up the use of the mineral in their electric and hybrid vehicles.
Toyota Tsusho Corp., the sister company of Toyota Motor Corp., announced yesterday it was forging a new joint venture to develop a lithium deposit in Argentina in partnership with Australia's Orocobre
Ltd. Under the terms of the deal announced yesterday, Toyota Tsusho will take a 25% stake in the project with the aim of making Toyota Motor its primary customer, spurred by the high cost of lithium-ion batteries used in its electric and hybrid vehicles.
It's not that lithium deposits are scarce. In fact, the mineral is as common as lead or nickel worldwide.
But there are few commercially viable sources and even fewer players in the emerging market. Chile's SQM; Chemetall, a division of Rockwood Holdings Inc., and FMC Corp. are the biggest producers of the mineral, which is principally mined in Chile, Argentina, Australia, and China at this point.
Partnerships, like the one struck by Toyota yesterday, are aimed at controlling the supply chain, introducing more players and increasing competition with the goal of lowering the price of lithium for those who expect sizeable demand in... [Read More]