Elon Musk considers buying a mining company

(Agence Ecofin) – The energy transition begins and ends with metals. For car companies embarking on the production of electric cars, this assertion is even more true and they are therefore exploring ways to guarantee their supply.

To accelerate the development of clean energy sources, Tesla is ready to buy a mining company. At least that’s what billionaire Elon Musk (photo), CEO of the automotive giant, suggested at the Future of the Car 2022 summit organized by the FinancialTimes.

We will tackle limitations, whatever they may be, to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. It’s not that we want to buy mining companies, but if that’s the only way to speed up the transition, then we will.“, he toldReuters.

This release revives the debate on how car companies can secure their supply of essential metals for low-carbon or non-CO2-emitting vehicles.2 like the electric ones. As demand for lithium, copper, nickel, cobalt and others soars, mining production is yet to keep pace and the race to negotiate purchase contracts, even on projects that have not yet entered the construction phase , rages.

For the moment, note that Tesla, like the French Renault or German BMW, is above all working to negotiate several agreements for the purchase of metals, especially for the lithium which is used in the manufacture of the batteries with which the company equips its cars. In this quest, Africa plays an important role, as evidenced by the agreement negotiated last December with the mining company Syrah Resources.

The giant based in Austin, Texas has indeed entered into a supply contract for the supply of active anode material (AAM) for electric batteries, a material produced using graphite from a mine located in…mozambique. Similarly, there are contracts between Tesla and Chinese Ganfeng Lithium, a producer of materials for electric vehicles that has reported on two African lithium projects in recent months, Manono in the DRC and Goulamina in Mali.

From there to considering that Elon Musk’s projects lead him to African lithium, nickel or graphite mines, there is a gap linked above all to investors’ fears about the mining environment in Africa.

Despite the efforts of leaders, a number of foreign actors indeed consider the continent’s mining jurisdictions to be at risk, in particular because of accusations of human rights violations in the production of certain strategic metals such as Congolese cobalt, or political instability.

Emiliano Tossou

Read also:

07/09/2021 – The car giants are aiming for all-electric from 2030: a major shortfall for Africa

18/12/2019 – DRC: Five American companies in court to answer for child labor in cobalt mines

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