Can Indonesia provide Tesla with sustainable nickel? – by Steven Brown (July 25, 2020)

Elon Musk recently made headlines again by asking mining companies to produce more nickel and promising big contracts from Tesla. However, Musk’s promise has a big catch: he only wants nickel that is produced in a responsible manner.

Musk’s plea for more nickel comes at an interesting time. There’s certainly no shortage of nickel; not now and not in the foreseeable future. The world has Indonesia to thank for this. Indonesian nickel production has grown from around 100,000 tonnes of processed nickel in 2014, to over 600,000 tonnes in 2020.

It will likely to reach 1.1 million tonnes of nickel by 2022. This sort of growth in unheard of, and will see Indonesia producing half of the world’s nickel in the next two years.

With Indonesian nickel growing so readily, it is curious that Tesla is so concerned about nickel supply. The reason for this is that Tesla is concerned about the sustainability of nickel coming from Indonesia.

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