On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in North America, manufacturers are trying to ensure greater capacity for cathode active materials – nickel, cobalt, phosphorus and manganese – to reduce dependence on Asia and comply with USMCA rules to market the products. Duty-free vehicles in the region.
“Yes, there is a window of opportunity to satisfy the demand for this type of battery from the deposits we have in Mexico, but we have to work on it,” says Armando Alatorre, president of the Association of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists and Geologists from Mexico. “Currently the market is controlled by China, since they have all the technology, so sooner or later, at some point, we will have to establish communication with them, to create a true industry.”
According to S&P Global, the amount of lithium required for the manufacture of a medium battery is close to 9 kilograms of mineral.
Today Asia leads the extraction of lithium and the production of cells for batteries. Data from Statista shows that out of every three batteries, two were manufactured by companies from this region, among them the Chinese CATL, followed by the Korean LG Chem and the Japanese Panasonic.
But lithium is not the only mineral needed for the production of electric vehicles. He copper it also acquires a fundamental role for the operation of lithium batteries and electric motors. This highly conductive mineral is already an essential element for a car to work.
Another indispensable material for electric vehicles is nickel. According to a report by Adamas Intelligence, lithium batteries use nickel-rich cathodes for their cells, as about 54% use nickel concentrate.
José Zozaya, president of the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry (AMIA), believes that the automotive sector and all technology are heading towards electrification. This will happen “with Mexico or without Mexico”. “What we have seen is that the sales volumes of electric vehicles are still low, but the percentages increase significantly, reaching 100% from one year to the next. We believe that when the work is done together, when the public policies are made and when the infrastructure is in place, this will reach record levels ”, he concludes.