Last summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced he would be issuing “giant contracts” to mining companies capable of supplying Tesla with nickel in an “environmentally sensitive” way. “Please mine more nickel,” he asked bluntly.
By October, Tesla was in talks with Vale, the world’s largest producer of the mineral, about securing sustainable nickel from its Canadian mines to power Tesla’s electric vehicle batteries.
No firm definition of “environmentally sensitive” was given, but as minerals become increasingly critical to a low-carbon future, attention around how those minerals are extracted and produced is growing sharply.
Cleantech’s cleanest resources are not in short supply: wind is free and the sun shines, at no charge. Yet enormous amounts of copper, nickel and other minerals are required to harness their energy.
Canada is one of the few countries in the world that can provide the materials required for lithium-ion batteries that are vital for EVs and other emerging low-carbon technologies.
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