Tesla Inc has signed a supply agreement with mining giant BHP, to source nickel for its batteries from Western Australia.
BHP says its Nickel West asset is “one of the most sustainable and lowest carbon emission nickel producers in the world”.
Nickel is also an important ingredient in lithium-ion EV batteries and power storage units – areas where Tesla is an obvious world leader.
The deal between Tesla and BHP will also see the two collaborate on energy storage solutions “to identify opportunities to lower carbon emissions in their respective operations”.
One example of this might be harvesting solar and wind energy in the WA desert where BHP’s mineral rights are, and storing said power in on-site Tesla batteries.
The two companies say they also plan to focus on end-to-end raw material traceability using blockchain and promote “the importance of sustainability in the resources sector”.
“Demand for nickel in batteries is estimated to grow by over 500 per cent over the next decade, in large part to support the world’s rising demand for electric vehicles,” commented BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant.
“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Tesla Inc., and to collaborate with them on ways to make the battery supply chain more sustainable through our shared focus on technology and innovation.”
BHP Minerals Australia President Edgar Basto said its pursuit of commodities like nickel “will help support global decarbonisation and position us to generate long-term value for our business”.
“BHP produces some of the lowest carbon intensity nickel in the world, and we are on the pathway to net zero at our operations,” he added.
“Sustainable, reliable production of quality nickel will be essential to meeting demand from sustainable energy producers like Tesla Inc.”
This news is far from the only Australian connection to Tesla: former Telstra COO and CFO Robyn Denholm chairs Tesla’s Board of Directors.