American company Tesla, the world’s most valuable car company by market cap, has revealed its plans to break into the battery metals mining business.
The company revealed the latest announcement at its ‘Tesla Battery Day’ event.
As part of the Battery Day event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and manufacturing industry executive Drew Baglino confirmed that the company is taking the “first official step” by securing the rights to a 10,000-acre lithium clay deposit in Nevada, US.
Musk and Baglino also disclosed Tesla’s intentions to build its own cathode plant and lithium conversion facility, both of which will be in North America.
Baglino stated: “We’re going to go and start building our own cathode facility in North America, leveraging all of the North American resources that exist for nickel and lithium.
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“Just doing that and localising our cathode supply chain and production we can reduce the miles travelled by all of the materials that end up in the cathode by 80 per cent, which is huge for cost.
“This process enables simpler mining and simpler recycling.”
The lithium mine and proposed cathode facility will be two new additions to Tesla’s growing portfolio.
Speaking at the event, Elon Musk described a new generation of electric vehicle (EV) batteries which will be more powerful and half expensive as that of the company’s current cells.
Musk said Tesla planned to recycle battery cells at its Nevada ‘gigafactory’ while reducing its use of cobalt, one of the most expensive battery materials, to virtually zero, The Guardian reported.
Tesla and Canadian firm Giga Metals are reportedly in discussions on the development of a large mine, which would give the electric carmaker access to low-carbon nickel for its batteries.
Earlier this month, Tesla became a member of the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA) to improve the artisanal mining sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In June, Tesla and commodities trader and miner Glencore signed a deal, pursuant to which Tesla will buy cobalt from Glencore.