Tesla has agreed a long-term deal to buy nickel from global miner Vale as the carmaker looks to secure the raw materials needed for its batteries. Nickel is needed for the most powerful lithium-ion cells used in electric vehicles and the supply agreement with the Brazilian group marks the latest move by Elon Musk’s group to lock down non-Chinese supplies.
Analysts estimate more than 80 per cent of the world’s nickel processing is based in China and 60 per cent of the world’s nickel mines are Chinese owned.
Under the deal Tesla will purchase nickel from Vale’s mines in Canada, which produced 76,000 tonnes of the metal last year, adding to a string of deals the company has signed in the past year.
For Vale the deal with Tesla comes as chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo seeks to improve the performance of its miss-firing metals division and transform the business into the supplier of choice for US carmakers as they crank up production of electric vehicles.
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