Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:38

EV Automakers Seek Mining Deals to Secure Battery Metal Supplies

Written by Maria Merano, Teslarati


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EV automakers are seeking to ink mining deals to secure metal supplies for battery production.

“We’ve had discussions on that, and Tesla has definitely explored these operations,” said Randy Smallwood in an interview. “There is a real concern on the battery metal side in terms of supply.”


Smallwood is CEO of Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. He said electric car makers were exploring ways to play an intermediary role in the mining industry for battery metals.


In the second-quarter earnings call, Drew Baglino, senior VP of powertrain and energy engineering for Tesla, said looking for raw materials beyond the suppliers was more flexible.


“Speaking of which, from a raw materials perspective, we offer long-term contracts to secure our supply chain to also enable the script. We’re not just looking at the suppliers, but upstream from there,” said Baglino.


Recently, LG Energy Solution inked a deal with Australian Mines Limited to secure 100% rights to battery-grade nickel and cobalt metals. LG Energy Solution is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LG Chem, one of Tesla’s battery suppliers. As per the agreement, Australian Mines LTD will provide nickel and cobalt in the form of mixed hydroxide precipitate (MPH) from the Sconi Project in North Queensland.


The Korean battery manufacturer will have access to 71,000 tonnes of nickel and 7,000 tonnes of cobalt for six years starting at the end of 2024. The Korean company explained the deal was inked amid growing concerns about raw material supplies in the future.


In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk alluded to “pressure” in the raw material supply chain. At the last earnings call, Musk talked about...

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