Tesla is now officially getting into the mining business with a lithium claim on 10,000 acres in Nevada.
At the Battery Day event yesterday, as part of its entire new battery supply strategy, Tesla announced that it is developing its own lithium processing method.
Drew Baglino, SVP of engineering at Tesla, said:
“We are going to use a new process that we will pioneer. It’s a sulfate-free process again, we skip the intermediate. It will result in a 33% reduction in lithium cost.”
They didn’t go into too many details about that process.
CEO Elon Musk added:
“What is the best way to take the ore and extract the lithium and do so in an environmentally-friendly way? We have been looking at from a first principle physic standpoint instead of just the way it has always been done. We found that we can actually use table salt, sodium chloride, to basically extract the lithium from the ore. Nobody has done this before to the best of my knowledge.
He didn’t into more details about the process, and the comment is already raising some eyebrows in the lithium industry.
But the big news is that Tesla plans to secure the lithium itself.
The CEO confirmed that it acquired a lithium claim in Nevada:
“We got rights to a lithium claim deposit in Nevada – over 10,000 acres.”
Nevada is known to have a large reserve of lithium that is still not being exploited in volume.
Lithium Americas is one of the companies most far along in the development of mining operations in the region.
Musk said that Tesla is planning to have a low impact on the environment that it is mining:
“We take a chunk of dirt in the ground, extract the lithium, and put the chunk of dirt back where it was. It will look pretty much the same as before.”
Tesla didn’t offer a clear timeline on getting its mining operations up and running.
However, it indicated that it plans to ramp up battery cell production to 10 GWh next year, 100 GWh in 2023, and 3,000 GWh in 2030.
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