Tesla (TSLA) is reportedly in talks with the Indonesian government to build a new venture to secure some of the country’s nickel supply.
While many companies are looking to secure lithium, cobalt, and graphite to produce batteries for electric vehicles, Tesla has been more concerned with nickel lately.
During Tesla’s last earnings call in July, CEO Elon Musk pleaded with mining companies to increase their nickel production:
Well, I’d just like to re-emphasize, any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel. Okay. 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, whatever. Go for efficiency, obviously 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. So hopefully this message goes out to all mining companies. Please get nickel.
We have since heard about Tesla being in talks with Giga Metals and Vale in Canada to secure their potential nickel supply.
Now an official in the Indonesian government confirmed that Tesla approached them about investing in the country’s nickel resources.
Ayodhia Kalake, a senior official at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment, told Reuters:
“It was still an early discussion and was not detailed yet. We need further discussion with Tesla,”
Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest nickel producers and this year, it is increasing its capacity by 46% year-over-year to 550,000 tonnes of nickel.
It has also recently put a ban on exporting nickel ore in order to encourage the industry to process it locally.
Therefore, if Tesla wants to secure Indonesia’s nickel, it would have to invest in processing it in the country.
At its Battery Day event last month, Tesla detailed that it is prepared to enter the mining and processing industry to produce its own battery cells.
Recently, Indonesia closed a deal with LG Chem and Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), two battery suppliers Tesla recently partnered with, to build a battery factory in the country.
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