Elon Musk announced that Tesla “might actually have to get into the mining and refining” of lithium due to recent price increases to “insane levels”.
What is strange is that he previously announced two years ago that Tesla would get into the lithium mining business.
At Tesla’s Battery Day event in 2020, the automaker announced that it is getting into the mining business – starting with buying lithium claims on 10,000 acres in Nevada.
However, almost two years later, Tesla has yet to do anything with this claim or a new lithium mining technology announced at the same event.
In the meantime, the price of lithium has gone up by more than 400% during that time.
Now Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce that Tesla “might actually” follow through with its previous announcement of getting into lithium mining and refining.
“Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining and refining directly at scale, unless costs improve. There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.”
This is a surprising statement for many since even though not much has happened since the announcement on Battery Day, many believed Tesla was still working toward its own lithium operations.
Now the CEO makes it sound like Tesla “might actually” pull the trigger on it due to the increase lithium prices.
Last year, Tesla applied for a patent for its lithium extraction technology.
The automaker described the process in the patent application:
“Processes for extracting lithium from a clay mineral and compositions thereof are described. The extraction process includes providing a clay mineral comprising lithium, mixing a cation source with the clay mineral, performing a high-energy mill of the clay mineral, and performing a liquid leach to obtain a lithium rich leach solution.“
Musk has claimed that the process would be environmentally-friendly and economical.
Tesla’s needs for lithium supply are increasing fast as the company is expanding production with the new factories, like Gigafactory Texas and Berlin.
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