According to Reuters, Tesla is in discussions with B.C.’s Giga Metals about helping to develop a large mine that would give the electric carmaker access to low carbon nickel for its batteries.
Giga Metals is focused on the metals critical to modern batteries with their Turnagain Project, a massive nickel and cobalt resource in Northern B.C. that has indicated resources of 2.36 million tonnes of nickel and 141,000 tonnes of cobalt.
Alongside its goal to reduce pollution from driving, Tesla is also striving to reduce its own carbon footprint.
“Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way,” CEO Elon Musk said in July.
Giga Metals’s low carbon nickel plans include turning waste from its mining operations into cement type rock using carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and using hydropower.
“Giga Metals has been mentioned in recent media articles as they pertain to ongoing efforts to advance the Turnagain deposit to commercialization,” said Vydra. “What I can say is that there is no material announcement forthcoming and we will keep regulators and investors informed of any material changes that require disclosure in accordance with securities regulations.”
Tesla has not responded to requests for comment however Musk seems to have batteries on his mind.
Many exciting things will be unveiled on Battery Day 9/22 ⚡️
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2020
Forecasts from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence suggest nickel demand for batteries will rise to 1.4 million tonnes in 2030, or 30% of total nickel demand, from around 139,000 tonnes and 6% respectively this year, as sales of electric vehicles soar.
The problem for Tesla and other automakers is that most of the world’s new nickel production will come from Indonesia, where the process would involve disposing mining waste into the ocean, a major concern for environmentalists.
“The mine is in North America, so could secure supplies for Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory,” one source said, adding Canada’s environmental regulations were among the most stringent in the world.
Tesla could provide financing, possibly in exchange for equity, nickel and cobalt. It could agree to buy the nickel and cobalt, which would attract financing from others, the source added.