Mercedes-Benz Group AG and the Government of Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore deeper cooperation across all stages of the automotive value chain—from technical development and the extraction of raw materials to production, service life and recycling.
A key focus will be securing sustainable sources of raw materials. Canada, which has abundant mineral resources and stringent environmental standards, is courting global automakers that are keen to localize and clean up their battery supply chains. (The Volkswagen Group also recently signed a similar MoU with the Canadian government.)
“Mercedes-Benz is looking to open new ways to responsibly acquire raw materials to rapidly scale up electric vehicle production,” said Mercedes-Benz Board Member and CTO Markus Schaefer. “Securing direct access to new primary and sustainable sources of raw materials is a vital step down this road. With Canada, Mercedes-Benz has a strong and capable partner for a new era of sustainable transformation in the automotive industry.”
Mercedes-Benz says it will go all-electric by the end of the decade (subject to the weaselism “wherever market conditions allow”). Increasing production of EVs will mean increased demand for sustainably-sourced raw materials such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, graphite, manganese and copper.
Mercedes is exploring a strategic partnership with Rock Tech Lithium, which is developing a spodumene project in Ontario. From 2026 onwards, Rock Tech intends to supply Mercedes and its battery partners with up to 10,000 tons of lithium hydroxide per year. The plan is to refine the lithium in a carbon-neutral manner in Guben, Germany, where Rock Tech is currently building a lithium hydroxide converter.
“To scale up mass production of electric vehicles we need access to raw materials,” said Gunnar Guethenke, Mercedes VP for Procurement and Supplier Quality. “With the intended Rock Tech partnership, we are diversifying the sourcing of our raw materials as part of a direct sourcing approach to secure the lithium supply for Mercedes-Benz battery production in Europe. As sustainability is a central pillar of our purchasing strategy, we appreciate that Rock Tech plans to supply Mercedes-Benz with lithium from mining sites audited to the standard of [the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurances] and processed with renewable energy sources.”
“We intend to provide Mercedes-Benz not only with high-quality lithium hydroxide, but also to establish a strategic partnership that is expected to set new standards in sustainable supply chains,” said Rock Tech CEO Markus Bruegmann. “We have found a partner that intends to take important steps with us towards a more resilient and sustainable lithium supply chain.”