Luxury carmaker Stellantis takes $76m stake in Vulcan Energy Resources

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Daniel NewellThe West Australian
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The company behind Peugeot will take a big stake in Vulcan.
Camera IconThe company behind Peugeot will take a big stake in Vulcan. Credit: Supplied

The automaker behind luxury car marques Peugeot, Maserati, Chrysler and Jeep will take a $76 million equity stake in lithium brine player Vulcan Energy Resources.

The investment by Stellantis gives it an 8 per cent stake, making it the second-biggest shareholder in the Gavin Rezos-chaired dual-listed company which is progressing plans to extract lithium from subterranean brine in Germany in a process it claims will emit zero carbon.

Vulcan’s shares soared on the news and were up 23 per cent to $6.15 at 8.50am.

Stellantis’ 14 car brands also include Citroën, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Opel and Vauxhall. The company is increasing planned battery capacity by 140 gigawatt hours to about 400GWh, to be supported by five battery manufacturing plants in Europe and North America, together with additional supply contracts.

Vulcan managing director Francis Wedin said the investment — which he believes is the world’s first upstream investment in a listed lithium company by a top-tier automaker — represented a strong statement by a leading company about the sustainable and strategic sourcing of battery materials.

“We are fully aligned with Stellantis’ decarbonisation and electrification goals, which represent some of the most ambitious in the industry,” Dr Wedin said.

“It is encouraging to see a leading automaker investing in local, decarbonised lithium production for electric vehicles. As our largest offtaker, we look forward to deepening our relationship with Stellantis as a substantial shareholder in Vulcan and our zero carbon lithium business.”

Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares said the investment would create a “resilient and sustainable” value chain for its European electric vehicle battery production.

Perth-headquartered Vulcan and Stellantis also announced they had extended a binding lithium hydroxide offtake agreement struck late last year by five years, taking the deal to 2035.

Proceeds from the $76m investment will go towards Vulcan’s planned production expansion drilling in the Upper Rhine Valley Brine Field.

Vulcan is already producing geothermal energy from the project and plans to produce lithium hydroxide with zero fossil fuels and net zero carbon footprint.

In February, the company became the first Australian company to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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