LG Energy Solution secures IRA-compliant battery minerals 

(Credit: LGES)

LG Energy Solution (LGES) secured IRA-compliant (Inflation Reduction Act) battery minerals through an agreement with Tesla lithium supplier Liontown. 

On July 4, 2024, LGES and Liontown signed a convertible note subscription agreement. According to the agreement, Liontown will supply LG Energy Solution with high-quality lithium spodumene from its Kathleen project. The pair will also explore the possibility of establishing a lithium refinery in the future. 

“The agreement represents another significant step in our value chain investment strategy aimed at enhancing its resilience to market uncertainties. By partnering with strong players like Liontown, we will continue to secure stable supply of IRA-compliant critical minerals, fulfilling our efforts to provide competitive power solutions for electrification,” said LGES CEO David Kim.

Below are some key aspects of LGES and Liontown’s agreement. 

  • Liontown extends LG Energy Solution’s existing 5-year offtake agreement by an additional 10 years (15 years total). The extension will provide 700kt of spodumene concentrate over the first 5 years and 1,500kt spodumene concentrate over years 6 to 15 (in aggregate).  This extension also includes a commitment to make up to 250kt spodumene concentrate available over the first 10 years (2.45Mt in total);
  • Downstream collaboration agreement to commence feasibility studies to establish an IRA-compliant lithium refinery aimed at processing spodumene from Kathleen Valley into battery-grade lithium chemicals[2];
  • LG Energy Solution will invest US$250 million (A$379 million[3]) through Convertible Notes. The funding will underpin the production ramp-up of Liontown’s world-class Kathleen Valley Project in Western Australia. The first production of lithium spodumene concentration from Kathleen Valley is anticipated by the end of July.

LG Energy Solution’s partnership with Liontown secures its battery supply chain in the United States as it ramps up 4680 production. Liontown also has lithium supply agreements with Tesla and Ford.

LGES is currently preparing to start 4680 production in South Korea. The company is also prioritizing the buildout of its 4680 battery assembly line in Arizona.

Battery minerals and their place of origin account for a big chunk of the IRA’s maximum credit. Critical battery minerals account for $3,750 out of the $7,500 credit. The IRA set applicable percentage goals for the value of critical minerals contained in electric vehicle (EV) batteries that automakers have to meet. 

In 2023, the applicable percentage was 40%, meaning 40% of the minerals used in EV batteries must be extracted or processed in the United States, a country with a free trade agreement with the US, or recycled in North America. The IRA’s applicable percentage increases by 10% each year after 2023 until it hits 80% in 2027. 

Many EVs did not qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit after battery mineral requirements were enforced. The US government has issued mineral exemptions to give automakers time to adjust their battery supply chain.

Below are the lists of EVs that qualify for the IRA’s tax credits. (Source: Internal Revenue Service)

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LG Energy Solution secures IRA-compliant battery minerals 
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