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Anglo American on the lookout for lithium as EV metals demand grows

17th November 2023

By: Reuters

  

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SHANGHAI - Miner Anglo American is identifying opportunities to secure off-take lithium materials amid increasing demand for battery metals, a company executive said.

Lithium is a key metal used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries and demand for the metal has been growing strongly in the past few years as economies transition to green energy.

The company does not own lithium mines but produces copper, nickel and iron ore, other raw materials needed to manufacture batteries, electric cars (EVs) and renewable infrastructure that will help the world transition.

"We don't have a lithium mine and we don't trade it, but we are on the lookout for lithium," said Paul Ward, head of marketing for base metals at Anglo American.

Anglo American's customers are asking for more types of metals including battery materials nickel and lithium, said Ward on the sidelines of the CRU World Copper Conference Asia in Shanghai this week.

The miner looks to provide debt financing for brown-field or green-field projects, with the objective of getting hold of off-take material for battery metals, Ward said.

"It's a very competitive market, but we're very engaged in and then we put resources and investment behind it to find the right opportunity," he said.

"If there are opportunities to secure lithium that's already been mined, that we feel comfortable with, and that is in the right form that we can sell directly to our customers, then that's also of interest," he said.

As the auto industry gears up to shift to making only EVs - spurred on by likely bans on fossil-fuel cars over time - the pressure to produce environmentally and socially responsible batteries has increased.

Ward said there was strong interest across the supply chain to declare the carbon content, or information about human rights, of the material and Anglo American has had about 100 customers joining its blockchain-based technology platform Valutrax.

Edited by Reuters

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