(Bloomberg) — The merry-go-round of private meetings at an annual mining industry conference at Florida’s Hollywood Beach had a cast of new faces this year: auto sector executives increasingly anxious about surging prices and tighter supply of metals used in electric vehicle batteries.
Tesla Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz Group AG were among automakers which sent senior staff to mingle with about 1,500 delegates at the BMO Global Metals & Mining Conference, an event normally attended mainly by iron ore and aluminum producers.
Their presence underscores the growing popularity of battery-powered cars, helped by a global push toward clean energy, which is estimated to require $10 trillion worth of metals through 2050, according to BloombergNEF.
Car producers “had room-to-room meetings with a lot of companies, like ourselves, trying to understand how to address their own supply chain,” said Trent Mell, an attendee and chief executive officer of Electra Battery Materials Corp., a Toronto-based developer of mining and refining projects.
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