Tesla & BHP strike major deal in race for ‘sustainable nickel’

For Tesla, the deal makes a lot of sense, as it provides the company with a secure supply of sustainable nickel, primarily in a form that is well suited to dissolution and conversion to nickel sulphate, whilst largely avoiding the additional transport costs associated with sulphate, which contains about one fifth the nickel content of the metal.

Tesla’s nickel concerns have been well documented as far back as July 2020, when CEO Elon Musk famously stated “Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way” during an earnings call.

Concerns over the availability of nickel for the battery industry are well founded, with Benchmark forecasting demand for the mineral to increase from 184,000 tonnes in 2021 to in excess of 1.7m tonnes by 2030.

To put this into context, the entire global market for nickel in 2020 reached 2.4m tonnes, so the challenge of scaling suitable battery ready supply is evident, particularly once you factor in competing demand from the growing stainless-steel industry.

Tesla & BHP strike major deal in race for ‘sustainable nickel’ | Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

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