Tesla is famous for being vertically integrated, and the company has now announced plans for taking this to the next level, by mining its own Lithium.
Yesterday at their Battery Day Tesla announced that it purchased 10,000 acres in Nevada rich in Lithium.
“We got rights to a lithium claim deposit in Nevada – over 10,000 acres.”
Tesla also says it has a whole new Lithium mining process which was a lot more environmentally friendly than the usual practices.
“We are going to use a new process that we will pioneer. It’s a sulfate-free process again, we skip the intermediate. It will result in a 33% reduction in lithium cost,” said Drew Baglino, SVP of engineering at Tesla.
“What is the best way to take the ore and extract the lithium and do so in an environmentally-friendly way? We have been looking at from a first principle physic standpoint instead of just the way it has always been done. We found that we can actually use table salt, sodium chloride, to basically extract the lithium from the ore. Nobody has done this before to the best of my knowledge.
According to Musk, their process would have very little environmental impact.
“We take a chunk of dirt in the ground, extract the lithium, and put the chunk of dirt back where it was. It will look pretty much the same as before.”
Elon Musk has earlier said the company is planning to bring battery production in-house, but that volume production will only happen sometime in 2022. The company did not however deliver a time scale for their new Lithium mining business to hit production.