The Economic Times released an interesting article with a reaching title ‘How Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors maybe killing flamingos with its electric cars‘ yesterday. The claim is so absurd that it prompted Musk to mock it on Twitter:
While the endangerment of the Flamigos’ environment is not a laughing matter, the publication’s link back to Musk and Tesla certainly looks like one.
To justify her headline, Laura Millan Lombrana says that Chilian mining companies, Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA and Albemarle Corp.-owned Rockwood Holdings, are pumping water out of the local Flamigos’ environment near the Atacama salt-flat in Chile to produce lithium.
She admittedly can’t link the lithium back to Tesla and says that it is only a guess:
“Whether the two are supplying Tesla or Chevrolet is anyone’s guess.”
Now most of the world’s lithium indeed comes from Chile, which means that it is not impossible that some of the minerals end up in Tesla’s or GM’s vehicles after being sold to battery manufacturers since neither companies produce their own battery cells, but it’s a bold headline without any direct connection to the specific mining companies.
It was revealed late last year that Tesla visited Chile to meet with a mining company in order to supply its Gigafactory, which is about to start battery cell production. The company in question was Codelco, the country’s no.1 producer of copper in the world by volume and even though it currently doesn’t operate any lithium mine, it has been evaluating the possibility to exploit the resource which is abundant in Chile. The company operates salt mines in Maricunga and Pedernales, which hold lithium reserves.
Featured Image: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter’s question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)