Tesla teases possible mine purchase

Tesla could buy a mining company to produce its own supply of electric vehicle (EV) metals, if that would speed up worldwide adoption of clean energy technologies.

The possibility was raised by chief executive officer Elon Musk amid fears that the supply of lithium, nickel, copper and other metals could not match demand later this decade.

“It’s not out of the question,” Musk told the FT Future of the Car 2022 conference.

“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,” he said.

Tesla has lithium supply deals with Ganfeng Lithium Co, Livent Corp and Albemarle Corp, among others, and nickel supply deals with Vale and Talon Metals. But its goal to produce 20 million vehicles annually by 2030 will require vastly more supplies of metals. Tesla produced just under one million EVs last year.

Some analysts already feel 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.

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