Tesla Explored Procuring Stake In This Swiss Mining Company To Secure EV Battery Supply

Tesla Inc TSLA discussed with Glencore Plc GLCNF GLNCY about acquiring a stake in the Swiss commodities group.

The discussion reflected how global carmakers sought to build ties with the mining industry to secure materials needed for the rollout of electric vehicles, the Financial Times reported.

Preliminary discussions about Elon Musk’s electric car and battery maker buying 10-20% of Glencore began in 2021. 

Also Read: Tesla Strikes Battery Material Supply Deals With 2 Chinese Firms At A Crucial Time

The discussions continued in March 2022, when Glencore CEO Gary Nagle visited Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, as part of a roadshow for the mining company’s annual results.

Tesla was concerned if Glencore’s extensive coal mining business was compatible with the carmaker’s environmental goals and was reluctant to take a minority equity stake.

The rise of electric vehicles has prompted concern among carmakers and battery makers about securing supplies of raw materials such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel. 

Musk has outlined Tesla’s intention to take greater control of all manufacturing steps of its batteries, including processing the raw materials and even buying lithium deposits still in the ground.

“Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale unless costs improve,” Musk said.

The price of lithium has risen eightfold since the start of 2021.

Tesla advanced with plans to build its lithium hydroxide refinery on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Glencore produces cobalt, nickel, copper, and other minerals and is also one of the world’s largest recyclers of batteries. 

Analysts have been broadly skeptical over whether Musk has the appetite to invest in mining groups or trading houses, suggesting his comments aimed to jolt raw material suppliers into increasing output. 

The discussions ended with no deal.

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