Tesla’s nickel quest highlights metal’s environmental burden – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – September 1, 2020)

https://www.ft.com/

Waste linked to mining of key EV battery component threatens marine life

Elon Musk’s call for miners to dig more nickel for Tesla’s batteries faces its biggest test in Indonesia, where companies in the world’s top producing nation are planning to dump millions of tonnes of waste into the sea.

Mr Musk said on an earnings call last month that Tesla would give a “giant contract” to companies that could mine nickel “efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way,” in response to a question about the biggest constraint on the electric car maker he runs.

The chief executive’s remarks reflect a growing anxiety in the electric car industry over supplies of the industrial metal, which is vital for boosting the range of electric car batteries. Demand for nickel, which is also used in stainless steel, is expected to increase six-fold by 2030.

Analysts predict that Indonesia will account for almost all of the growth in nickel supplies over the next decade, overwhelming output from new mines in Canada and Australia. But a number of Chinese-backed projects in the country plan to dump mine waste containing metals such as iron into the sea, in an area renowned for its unique coral reefs and turtles.

For the rest of this article: https://www.ft.com/content/5d6fc188-2b9c-4df7-848e-a6c1795dc691

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