Tesla and high-volume nickel miner BHP are looking to come to terms in a deal that would see the mining company supply vast amounts of the metal to the electric automaker for EV batteries.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that sources familiar with the matter know that BHP and Tesla are currently in talks, but the main hold up is pricing. No final agreement has been made according to the sources, who wished to remain anonymous.
BHP is a world leader in the mining operations of coal, copper, iron ore, nickel, petroleum, and potash. The company’s only Nickel mine is located in Perth, Western Australia, known as “Nickel West.”
Tesla recently announced at its Battery Day event that its new Long Range and Mass Sensitive EV battery cathodes would utilize nickel to operate efficiently and cut costs. For its Long Range batteries, which will operate in the Powerwall energy storage system, and Model 3, Model S, and Model X vehicles, nickel and manganese would be the two primary materials used in the cells. Meanwhile, the Mass Sensitive cathodes, which will be used in the Cybertruck and Semi, will use high nickel for efficient operation.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced during the company’s Q2 Earnings Call that nickel was among its main focuses moving forward. The CEO was vocal about his company’s need for a large-scale nickel supplier as Tesla looked to move away from batteries that used cobalt, a controversial material popular in EV batteries.
“Well, I’d just like to reemphasize, any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel, OK?” Musk said. “Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel, and don’t wait for nickel to go back to some long — some high point that you experienced some five years ago or whatever. Go for efficiency, as environmentally friendly, nickel mining at high volume. Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way.”
Since then, Tesla has been in talks with several nickel producers and miners in an attempt to get the ball rolling. Earlier this week, Teslarati reported that Tesla had reached out to the Indonesian government looking to make a deal about a possible partnership that would supply the automaker with nickel. However, it was just a discussion, and no agreement has been made with the Indonesian entities either.
Musk’s comments during the Q2 Earnings Call signified that Tesla was undoubtedly looking to get its hands on nickel for a battery project. However, Battery Day then revealed that the company is working to create and produce in-house battery cells using a formidable cell production line.
Ultimately, Tesla is working diligently to produce a highly-capable cell line that uses responsibly sourced materials within its batteries. With requests from Canada’s Giga Metals and Brazil’s Vale SA, there are plenty of takers, but the price must be right for Tesla.