I, Me, Mine: Elon Musk to now dig into the mining sector?
- Elon Musk said Tesla is open to buying a mining company
- Concerns are growing in the electric vehicle business that there may not be enough
- 'We will address whatever limitations are on accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy,' he said
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc, said on Tuesday that the business is open to buying a mining company if manufacturing its own supply of electric vehicle (EV) metals speeds up global adoption of renewable energy technology.
Concerns are growing in the electric vehicle business that there may not be enough supply of lithium, nickel, copper, and other metals to meet demand later this decade, raising questions about whether Tesla would explore entering the mining industry.
"It's not out of the question," Musk stated at the Future of the Car 2022 conference. "We will address whatever limitations are on accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy. It's not that we wish to buy mining companies, but if that's the only way to accelerate the transition, then we will do that."
While the automaker has EV metals contracts with suppliers all over the world, Musk's goal of producing 20 million vehicles annually by 2030 - an "aspiration, not a promise" - will necessitate far more metal supplies. Last year, Tesla manufactured little under 1 million EVs.
Other automakers and executives, like Carlos Tavares, CEO of Tesla rival Stellantis NV, have warned of a metals supply deficit in the vehicle industry.
Tesla has no experience with the time-consuming and labor-intensive operation of establishing and operating a mine, so industry observers have suggested the automaker concentrate on purchasing an existing operator.
Many in the mining business have pointed out that buying an existing metals company would cost significantly less than the $43 billion Musk bid earlier this year to buy social media network Twitter Inc.
Tesla has lithium supply agreements with companies like as Ganfeng Lithium Co, Livent Corp, and Albemarle Corp. Last year, the company's lithium supply agreement with Piedmont Lithium Inc was put on hold.
Tesla has supply agreements with ValeSA and Talon Metals Corp.