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Tesla Secures First US Nickel Supply With A Deal With Talon Metals

Tesla Secures First US Nickel Supply With A Deal With Talon Metals
Tesla Inc has inked its first deal for ensuring the supply of nickel in the United States, opting for Talon Metals Corp's Tamarack mining project in Minnesota because of its ambitions to manufacture the electric vehicle battery metal in a more environmentally friendly manner.
The agreement, which was announced on Monday, comes as demand for nickel is predicted to rise dramatically over the next decade as electric vehicles become more common. Nickel improves energy storage in a battery's cathode, extending the range of an electric vehicle.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, pleaded with the mining sector in 2020 to produce more nickel "in an environmentally appropriate manner." Musk also called nickel production in the United States "objectively quite lame."
Musk managed to secure a crucial US source of the metal for Tesla battery facilities in Texas and Nevada by sourcing from Talon's Minnesota project, a joint venture with Rio Tinto planned to open by 2026, while also decreasing the number of players and complexity of the company's supply channel. Last year, the automaker inked nickel supply agreements with BHP in Australia and New Caledonia.
Although Indonesia is the world's top nickel producer, miners there often utilize energy-intensive technologies to extract the metal and engage in controversial waste disposal techniques such as dumping waste rock into waterways.
Talon Metals intends to deploy technology that it expects will allow it to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and chemically link it to rocks discovered inside its Tamarack project in northern Minnesota, allowing it to store it forever.
The technique, which is currently being tested, would basically allow Talon to offer nickel as carbon-neutral, which would be a significant selling point for Musk and Tesla.
"Responsible sourcing of battery materials has long been a focus for Tesla," Drew Baglino, a Tesla executive, said in a press release.
Tesla intends to purchase 75,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate, as well as smaller volumes of cobalt and iron ore, at LME-listed prices over the next six years. Tesla hasn't said where the nickel concentrate will be refined yet. There is no nickel refinery in the United States.
Just before the news was revealed, Talon's stock was stopped. Tesla's stock ended Monday with a 3 per cent gain.
"Talon is excited to support Tesla's mission to accelerate the transition to renewable energy," Henri van Rooyen, Talon's CEO, said in a statement.
The automaker signed a lithium supply agreement with Piedmont Lithium Inc (PLL.O) for its Texas battery factory in 2020, but the agreement was halted last year due to mounting resistance to Piedmont's proposed mine in North Carolina.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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