lithium

Lithium.

Areas of application automotive industry.

  • Batteries (high-voltage batteries, low-voltage batteries) 

Raw-material-specific risks.

  • Violation of the rights of local communities and indigenous groups
  • Water consumption in arid regions 

Measures taken by the BMW Group.

  • Comprehensive risk assessment carried out; above risks identified for material originating from South America from the so-called Lithium Triangle between Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Commissioning of a scientific study by the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Massachusetts Amherst investigating the effects of lithium mining on local water balances in Latin America.
  • Increase transparency in the lithium supply chain up to fourth-generation high-voltage batteries, as well as for low-voltage batteries, in cooperation with battery cell suppliers. Encourage the supply chain to obtain certification of mines (IRMA standard). 
  • Direct purchase for the fifth generation of our high-voltage batteries used for the first time in the BMW iX3 that was released in 2020. The BMW Group sources lithium directly from raw material producers in Australia and Argentina and makes it available to battery cell suppliers. In this way, we can ensure traceability (100% mass balance) of the lithium and are already committed to compliance with environmental standards and human rights during extraction at the mine.
  • Training for the lithium supply chain in Chile: The BMW Group has joined the local “Responsible Lithium Partnership” project, which is establishing a multi-stakeholder platform with representatives from civil society, including indigenous communities, government institutions and local mining companies. A further aim is to develop a joint action plan to improve long-term management of natural resources and implement initial steps. 
  • Investment in innovative technologies: Through its venture capital fund, BMW i Ventures, the BMW Group is investing in the US startup Lilac Solutions. Lilac Solutions has developed and patented an ion exchange method that significantly improves efficiency, costs and sustainability by extracting lithium from brine resources, which are natural deposits of salt water.

Initiatives.

  • Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA): Further development of robust sustainability standards for mines. Major lithium producers from Chile and Argentina were also persuaded to become IRMA members.
  • Automotive Industry Dialogue: Participation in the working group: Respect for human rights in raw material value chains and supplier networks. Implementation within this framework of pilot projects for the raw materials lithium and copper; development of detailed quality and action recommendations.
Kobalt und Lithium