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Tesla secures graphite for its batteries, a key mineral that so far has monopolized China

With the graphite -a mineral needed to make battery anodes- in the spotlight due to the bad forecasts coming from China, Tesla has secured supply with an Australian miner.

It is Syrah Resources Limited, a company that operates in Mozambique in a region with a serious humanitarian crisis, and in Louisiana, USA. From these mines will come the graphite for the next batteries of Tesla vehicles.

The b-side of the electric car boom

Vidalia

Source: Syrah Resources.

As explained by the miner in a statement, Tesla will acquire most of the initial proposed expansion of the graphite production capacity in Vidalia at a fixed price for an initial period of four years.

Syrah

Source: Syrah Resources.

The miner’s plan is to integrate its two mines so that the natural graphite concentrate is transported from the Balama open pit mine, Mozambique -in an unstable region, besieged by jihadism and with hundreds of thousands of displaced people- and is treated in the US later.

This last step involves spherical shaping and purification to produce an anode precursor material. The precursor material is then coated and heat treated to produce a finished mineral ready for the battery anode.

The truth is that the forecasts point to a shortage of this mineral in 2022: at present, about 70% of all graphite globally It comes from China, and it is feared that the Asian giant will not be able to cope with the enormous demand for this material.

In this regard, Tesla has recently asked the US government to remove tariffs on graphite in China, claiming that it cannot source the mineral from elsewhere.

The company is currently ramping up production at its large-scale (10 GWh) pilot plant in Fremont and expects to roll out a 4680 battery cell production capacity in even higher volumes (100 GWh) in Berlin (if successful) and Texas next year.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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