In order to accelerate the transition to electric transportation, Tesla has become increasingly involved in the raw material supply chain for battery cells.
Although it is only now starting to produce its own cells, the automaker is securing the supply of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other minerals from its battery cell suppliers.
More recently, Tesla began to deal not only with established mining companies, but also began to sign contracts for mining agreements with junior mining companies seeking to build new mining projects that would increase the supply of certain resources. essential for batteries.
This strategy helps these companies raise funds to build their mining projects.
Last year, Tesla signed such an agreement with Piedmont Lithium, a company developing a lithium project in North Carolina.
The automaker has agreed to buy about a third of Piedmont’s expected annual 160,000-ton lithium spodumene production for at least five years.
The first deliveries were scheduled between July 2022 and July 2023, but now the schedule has been delayed.
In a company update today, Piedmont confirmed that it still has not submitted its mining permit application, and the final feasibility study is expected in the second half of 2021.
The company has reportedly confirmed to Reuters that it will delay Tesla’s first deliveries without confirming a new schedule.
Last week, Tesla said it was looking to get 100 GWh of new annual output of battery cells by the end of next year.
While this is obviously not good news, I doubt it will have a significant impact on Tesla’s production plan.
This deal was made with a junior mining company for a project that was not yet operational, and while Tesla planned to intelligently integrate this lithium supply, it was most likely anticipating delays in bringing the project into production.
The automaker has also made several deals with major lithium suppliers that are less likely to experience delays.
These agreements with junior mining companies are more aimed at ensuring that more projects come online and increase global production capacity.
Tesla has other similar deals with junior junior mining companies that are still far from production ready, such as Pure Energy Minerals in Nevada.
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