Elon Musk is open to buying a mining company
Telsa Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk did not rule out the possibility of buying a mining company, or more if it would help accelerate the production of minerals needed for the production of electric vehicles (EV).
Speaking at the FT Future of the Car 2022 conference Musk said, “It’s not out of the question. We will address whatever limitations are on accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. It’s not that we wish to buy mining companies, but if that’s the only way to accelerate the transition, then we will do that.”
Demand for critical minerals has caused concern across the EV industry that there may not be enough supply of lithium, nickel, copper and other metals to match demand later this decade, fueling questions about whether Tesla would consider jumping into the mining sector.
While the auto giant has EV metals contracts with suppliers across the globe, its goal to produce 20 million vehicles annually by 2030 – what Musk called an “aspiration, not a promise” – will require vastly more supplies of metals. Tesla produced just under 1 million EVs last year, Reuters reported.
Other automakers and executives including Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Tesla rival Stellantis NV, have warned the auto industry faces a metals supply shortage.
Tesla has no experience with the time-intensive and laborious task of building and operating a mine, so industry analysts have advised the automaker to focus on buying an existing operator.
Many in the mining industry have noted that buying an existing metals producer would cost far less than the $43 billion Musk offered to personally buy social media network Twitter earlier this year.
Tesla has lithium supply deals with Ganfeng Lithium, Livent Corp and Albemarle Corp, among others. The company’s lithium supply deal with Piedmont Lithium was put on hold last year.
Tesla has nickel supply deals with Vale SA and Talon Metals.