Elon Musk: More Tesla Gigafactory lithium deals to come
Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk has admitted the company is pursuing lithium deals in Nevada.
Tesla is looking to add to the conditional deal it struck with Bacanora Minerals / Rare Earth Minerals and Musk was forced to admit last night on Twitter that Nevada projects are being considered.
Last week’s lithium supply deal with Bacanora from its Sonora clay project in Mexico was the first Gigafactory raw material agreement to be announced, a situation that has gripped the junior mining sector since February 2014
The development surprised many sectors of the mining and investment industries, however. Not only because it is one of the newer lithium assets on the market but also with Tesla’s willingness to back the higher risk junior mining sector rather than striking a deal with an established producer.
But this discussion migrated into the realm of politics yesterday with an article published by the Las Vegas Sun asking whether Elon Musk or the Nevada lawmakers were to blame for a Nevada-based lithium project not getting the green light.
Nevada is the only location in North America to mine lithium. Albemarle / Rockwood’s Silver Peak operation produces comparatively small amounts of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide to the rest of the world – the latter being the product needed by the Gigafactory.
In response to the article, Elon Musk took to Twitter to defend Tesla.
Politics Editor at the Las Vegas Sun, Scott Lucas, questioned whether Elon Musk “played” Nevada after the state gave Tesla $1.25m in tax breaks only for the company to turn to Mexico for its lithium.
Elon Musk responded by explaining that the deal with Bacanora was “not exclusive” and it was “definitely” correct to assume that Tesla is also going for Nevada sources of lithium. This confirmed Benchmark‘s expectation last week that the Bacanora deal is just the start of a series of Gigafactory raw material deals to be announced by Tesla.