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Elon Musk's nickel plea can be satisfied with a Tanzania mine, says Kabanga Nickel. The mine and plant there could help reduce the ever-growing demand for nickel from electric vehicle manufacturers.
Kabanga Nickel is seeking to raise $1.3 billion for a major mining project in Tanzania that the company says could help reduce voracious demand from electric vehicle manufacturers for nickel. “We are accelerating these kind of discussions as quickly as possible,” CEO Chris Showalter, a former investment banker, said in an interview reported Mining Weekly. "Because of the quality of the project, we have developed substantial interest."
The company is trying to secure funding for a $950 million mine and a $350 million oil refinery that will be developed simultaneously in the northwest part of the country. Ultimately, the project will produce up to 50,000 tonnes of nickel cathodes per year, plus additional smaller quantities of copper and cobalt. Kabanga Nickel expects to be operational by 2024 and achieve stable production levels in the first year of working.
Nickel is a key component of lithium-ion batteries and is helping car manufacturers reduce the use of controversial cobalt. During the Tesla Q2 2020 Earnings Call, CEO Elon Musk urged miners to invest in sustainable nickel as the production of electric vehicles will increase over the next few years.
“I'd just like to re-emphasize, any mining companies out there, please mine more nickel. Okay. Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel and don’t wait for a nickel to go back to some long - some high point that you experienced some five years ago, whatever. Go for efficiency, obviously environmentally-friendly nickel mining at high volume. Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way. So hopefully this message goes out to all mining companies. Please get a nickel.”
“I would emphatically say we are very much positioned to start delivering to Mr. Musk and all other strategic battery EVs,” said Showalter. Competition among electric vehicle companies to secure future supplies puts Kabanga in a “pretty strong competitive environment” as it negotiates with investors, he added.
Showalter said Kabanga plans to recycle metals in a refining process that uses less electricity and has a lower carbon footprint, which could help it sell its products at a premium. “The world needs clean nickel and we are not going to be the only solution, but we are the next fast-growing project,” he said.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.