Tesla is in talks with Canadian mining company Giga Metals to buy low-carbon nickel extracted from it. This metal was called the “new gold” by the head of the car company, Elon Musk.
Tesla, which aims to significantly reduce pollutant emissions from its electric cars, has offered to help Giga Metals develop a large eco-mine, according to Reuters .
Metal is essential for more efficient batteries. “The more nickel it has, the higher the energy density of a battery,” said Michael Beck, an analyst at Regent Advisors. For example, a Tesla Model 3 car, the cheapest in Tesla’s portfolio, contains about 30 kg of nickel.
Elon Musk recently called on mining companies to focus on nickel. “Tesla will give you a huge contract for a long time,” he said. The condition is that these companies extract the metal in an environmentally friendly way.
Tesla could become shareholder in the company that extracts the “new gold”
The Canadian mining company is investing about $ 1 billion in the new nickel mine. “We want our Turnagain mine to be the world’s first carbon-neutral,” said Martin Vydra, president of Giga Metals. There are an estimated 2.36 million tonnes of nickel in the area. Canada produced 180,000 tons last year.
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the nickel requirement for batteries will be, in 2030, 1.4 million tons or 30% of production. In 2020, 139,000 tons (6% of the total) will be used for batteries.
At the moment, the largest amount of metal comes from Indonesia, where nickel is extracted in a very polluting way. There, many of the remnants of the extraction end up in the ocean.
Giga plans to produce 40,000 tons of nickel / year in a sustainable way over the next 20 years. Tesla could finance the Turnagain mine, according to Reuters sources. Instead, he could receive shares in the Canadian company.
Tesla annually produces 490,000 electric vehicles in the United States and 200,000 in China. The company is preparing to open a new factory in Europe, but also to introduce into production new types of vehicles, including the Cybertruck pickup and the Semi truck.