Nickel mine developer has major commitment from Tesla

January 11, 2022 GMT

TAMARACK, Minn. (AP) — The company that plans to develop a nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota has made a major supply deal with Tesla, the electric vehicle maker.

Tesla has committed to purchasing 75,000 metric tons of nickel concentrate over six years from Talon Metals’ planned mine in Tamarack, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Duluth. Talon hopes to open the mine by January 2026, but has not yet started the permitting process.

Nickel is a key ingredient of electric vehicle batteries.

“This agreement is the start of an innovative partnership between Tesla and Talon for the responsible production of battery materials directly from the mine to the battery cathode,” Talon’s CEO, Henri van Rooyen, said in a statement.

Tesla would claim more than half of the mine’s production of nickel concentrate, which would be further refined before it could be used to make batteries, the Star Tribune reported.

“The Talon team has taken an innovative approach to the discovery, development and production of battery materials, including to permanently store carbon as part of mine operations,” Drew Baglino, Tesla’s senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said in a statement.

Talon is developing a system that would capture CO2 from the air and permanently store it in rock waste from the mine.

“Responsible sourcing of battery materials has long been a focus for Tesla,” Baglino said, “and this project has the promise to accelerate the production of sustainable energy products in North America.”

Tesla’s agreement with Talon is its first for nickel in the United States.