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Tesla partners with nickel mine amid shortage fears

Tech & IT desk || shiningbd

Published: 13:14, 5 March 2021  
Tesla partners with nickel mine amid shortage fears

Goro mine in New Caledonia.

Tesla has decided to become a technical partner in a nickel mine - which is needed for lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Elon Musk's car firm will also buy nickel from the Goro mine on the tiny Pacific island of New Caledonia to secure its long-term supply. The move comes amid growing concerns about future supplies of nickel.

New Caledonia is the world's fourth-largest nickel producer, which has seen a 26% rally in prices in the past year.

"Nickel is our biggest concern for scaling lithium-ion cell production," Musk said on Twitter last month. New Caledonia is a French overseas territory although it has seen growing calls for its independence.

New Caledonia's huge nickel reserves are crucial for the local economy, and the Goro mine, in the south of the island, has the potential to be one of the world's biggest nickel producers.

In December, its owner's Brazilian mining giant Vale and the French state tried to sell it to Swiss commodities trader Trafigura.

Residents were so angry about the loss of local ownership and control that it sparked the collapse of New Caledonia's government and led to workers going on strike.

A new agreement hammered out on Thursday by pro-independence groups, loyalist parties, and indigenous Kanaks will see the mine sold to a consortium that now includes employees as well as three regional provinces. Trafigura will hold just 19%.