While the prospect of Tesla entering the mining industry is intriguing, CEO Elon Musk has stated that the company would prefer not to do so.
When asked if Tesla’s mining ambitions have been put on hold during an interview on the Getting Stoned podcast, Musk stated that Tesla does not want to enter the mining segment, owing to its limitations, according to Teslarati.
“Well, we do not want to go into the mining industry or the sort of refining industry because the limitation, I think, is actually more. For example, with lithium, it’s more lithium refinement than it is the actual mining. So you better take the ore that contains lithium, and you’ve got to refine it and get it to battery-grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate. And it has to be extremely pure. Otherwise, you could have a breakdown in the cell,” Musk was quoted as saying.
“You can’t have impurities in the cell because it would cause the cell to fail. So the challenge with a lot of the ingredients into lithium-ion batteries is the processing. It’s not the fundamental rarity of lithium. Lithium is very common. It’s one of the most common elements on earth. But you’ve got to turn it into battery-grade lithium and that’s, that’s where the chokepoint is,” Musk added.
The CEO of Tesla also stated that the number of smart, hardworking individuals that Tesla could push to work on important projects is limited. As a result, it would be preferable for Tesla to focus on tasks that will make a difference in the company’s efforts to move the needle on the sustainability transition.
Musk recently stated at the Financial Times Future of the Car 2022 Conference in May that it is “not out of the question” for Tesla to acquire a mining company if producing its supply of electric cars would accelerate the global adoption of clean energy technologies. However, Musk implied at the time that Tesla would only enter the mining industry if absolutely necessary.