During the company’s Q2 2020 earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a plea to mining firms for a low-carbon solution to providing nickel, one of the key elements in EV batteries.
“Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way.”
Shortly after, the Canadian mining firm Canada Nickel Co. reached out to Musk on Twitter to take him up on his offer to process zero-carbon nickel.
A new report from Reuters and confirmed by three sources says another Canadian mining firm is in talks with Tesla to provide them with carbon-neutral nickel.
Giga Metals, based out of Vancouver, British Columbia hopes to turn waste from its mining operations in northern B.C. into a cement type rock using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hydro power.
The company’s Turnagain mine, located about 70km east of Dease Lake, has an estimated 2.36 million tonnes of nickel and 141,000 tonnes of cobalt, making it one of the largest undeveloped nickel-cobalt sulphide deposits in the world. It is relatively young at 1 billion years old, meaning a strong likelihood of high recoveries of the metals.
“Mining and processing the ore at Turnagain is likely to generate up to 28,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year,” one of the sources said. “The tailings could absorb up to a similar tonnage of carbon, neutralising emissions from the mine.”
Without confirming the discussions, Giga Metals’ president Martin Vydra said his company has long been engaged with automakers regarding their ability to produce carbon-neutral nickel.
Giga Metals plans to produce 40,000 tonnes of nickel and 2,000 tons of cobalt per year for as many as 20 years. If a deal is reached between the two, it could be for as long as 40 years, or the lifetime of the mine.