Elon Musk is practically begging nickel miners to boost production as potential future shortages would severely impact his ability to manufacture electric vehicles as the metal is a key component for the batteries on which Tesla Inc. depends.
Historically, nickel has always been a boom/bust metal due to the fact the world only produces about 2.1 million metric tonnes of the material a year as opposed to a more commonly used metal like copper at 20 million metric tonnes. And roughly only half of nickel production is of the Class-1 type that is used in batteries that run electric vehicles.
Currently, the cost of nickel is nearing a cyclical bottom, hence the reluctance of nickel miners to invest the possible near billion dollars it takes to bring on a new mine.
Musk is a multi-billionaire and his company stock is at an all-time high. Instead of whining to the mineral industry to invest “their shareholder money” in new nickel production at a time of low returns here are some suggestions to calm his fear of future shortages:
One: Why can’t Tesla start stockpiling class-one nickel now during a time of low prices? The American military stockpiled nickel during the 1950s and 1960s as it was in constant short supply due to a booming economy and its use as a critical metal for military production – the Korean conflict, Vietnam War and the Cold War between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R.
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