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Tesla mints nickel deal with Aussie mining giant


SYDNEY: Anglo-Australian mining company BHP It said Thursday that it had struck a deal to provide Tesla with supplies of nickel, a metal vital in the production of high-power batteries for electric cars.
Under the deal, the innovative automaker will secure supplies from a mine in Western Australia, one of the world’s largest sources.
Most of today’s nickel is used in the production of stainless steel.
But demand for the metal is projected to skyrocket over the next decade, as electric vehicles become more common.
CEO of Mercurial Tesla Elon musk has previously raised concerns about future nickel shortages, which could slow down the efficiency and storage capacity of batteries, as well as make them more expensive to produce.
BHP’s chief commercial officer, Vandita Pant, predicted that demand “will grow by more than 500 percent over the next decade” largely thanks to the nickel battery business.
No details were released about the length or value of the deal.
The administration of President Joe Biden has pushed US companies to develop supply chains that are not overly reliant on raw materials or production facilities in China that are vulnerable to diplomatic crosswinds.
Australia has around a quarter of the world’s nickel supply.
Tesla recently reached a similar supply agreement with the Goro nickel mine in New Caledonia.
A number of Chinese companies are vying to challenge Tesla’s position as the world’s leading producer of electric cars, including BYD, Nio, Li Auto and XPeng – which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange this month.

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