Opinion: Is This a Mine Elon Musk and Joe Biden Can Both Support? – by Adam Minter (Bloomberg – May 9, 2022)


A Minnesota project has to overcome tribal and environmental concerns. But the U.S. needs its own source of nickel, which is key to electric-vehicle expansion.

The future of US-made electric-vehicle batteries might be found in a modest white shed in Tamarack, Minnesota, population 104.

Beneath bright fluorescent lights, foot-long cylindrical pieces of rock are laid out in cardboard boxes, where they sparkle with grains found in the millions of pounds of nickel that Tesla Inc. committed to buy on Jan. 11. That commitment has the potential to turn into a savvy buy for the electric carmaker.

Brian Goldner, chief exploration officer for Talon Metals Corp., an exploration and mining company, lifts one of the rock cylinders recently drilled from hundreds of feet below the Earth’s surface and tilts it so that the nickel catches the light. “Over nine percent,” he says of the unusually high metal content. “It’s crazy.”

In 2020, Tesla’s Elon Musk begged miners to “please mine more nickel” and offered a “giant contract” to anyone who could do it sustainably. The problem is acute. Nickel is a key component of electric-vehicle batteries. Thanks to surging EV demand, geopolitics and a lack of new supplies, the high-grade nickel necessary for making electric-vehicle batteries is becoming scarce.

For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-05-08/a-nickel-mine-elon-musk-and-joe-biden-may-both-need