While the idea of Tesla entering the mining business is pretty exciting, CEO Elon Musk said he hopes the company would prefer it if it didn’t have to enter the industry.
During an interview on the Getting Stoned podcast, Musk, when asked if the electric vehicle maker’s mining aspirations are on the back burner, said Tesla doesn’t want to enter the mining segment, in part because of its limitations, Teslarati reports.
“Well, we don’t want to get into the mining industry or that kind of refining industry because the limitation, I think, is actually more. For example, with lithium, it’s more lithium refining than actual mining. So you better take the ore that contains lithium and you have to refine it and get it to lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate for batteries. And it must be extremely clean. Otherwise, you could have cell failure,” Musk was quoted as saying.
“You can’t have impurities in the cell because that would cause the cell to fail. So the challenge with many of the ingredients in lithium-ion batteries is processing. This is not the main rarity of lithium. Lithium is very common. It is one of the most common elements on earth. But you have to turn it into lithium for batteries, and that’s where the choke point is,” Musk added.
The tech specialist also said the number of smart, hard-working people Tesla can get to do important projects is limited. So Tesla would be better off taking on tasks that matter in the company’s efforts to push the needle on the transition to sustainability.
Musk recently mentioned at the Financial Times Future of the Car 2022 conference in May that “it’s not out of the question” that Tesla could buy a mining company if the production of its electric car supplies would accelerate the global adoption of clean energy technologies. However, Musk then gave the impression that Tesla would only enter the mining industry if it had to.
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