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Tesla approaches battery cell manufacturing with a 5-year lithium supply agreement

Australian mining company Piedmont Lithium announced Monday that it has signed a five-year supply agreement with Tesla. Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies, Piedmont would supply about one-third of its 160,000 tons of spodumene concentrate per year from its North Carolina mines to the American automaker.

In a press release, Piedmont noted that while its initial deal with Tesla is set for five years, both companies have the option to extend the contract for another five years. The Australian mining firm added that while its initial deal with Tesla accounts for about one-third of the North Carolina mine’s projected 160,000-tonne annual output, more lithium could be delivered to Tesla if needed.

Deliveries for Tesla̵

7;s lithium could begin between July 2022 and July 2023 based on Tesla and Piedmont development programs. In a statement, Keith Phillips, president and chief executive of Piedmont Lithium, expressed his enthusiasm for the Tesla deal. Phillips also noted that Piedmont will accelerate its mining development to support Tesla’s plans.

“We are thrilled to work with Tesla, which represents the start of the domestic lithium supply chain in the United States and a break in the current value chain. The agreement underscores the strategic importance of the unique US spodumene depot in Piedmont and confirms the trend towards spodumene as the preferred raw material for the lithium hydroxide required in batteries with a high nickel content.

“We will now accelerate the development of our mine / concentrator to support Tesla’s plans, work to further expand our mineral resources and potentially increase our annual planned spodumene concentrate production capacity. lithium hydroxide in North Carolina, using a combination of in-house produced spodumene concentrate and material from other manufacturers around the world, “said Phillips.

The Tesla deal appears to have been appreciated by the Australian miner’s actions. Following his announcement, Piedmont Lithium’s stock was up 83%.

Tesla’s battery cell manufacturing initiative has caught the attention of the electric vehicle industry. During the company’s Battery Day event, Tesla outlined its cell manufacturing program, which involves a redesign from the ground up of the batteries that are used for the company’s vehicles and energy storage products. The result of Tesla’s efforts was the Roadrunner cell, which adopts a 4680 form factor, allowing it to have 5 times the volume of the 2170 cells used in Model 3 and Model Y.

But for Tesla to achieve its battery production goals, it would need to sign the deal with companies like Piemonte Lithium, which could provide the electric car maker with the materials needed to produce battery cells. Previous reports have indicated that the company is already in the process of securing partners for its drive into battery manufacturing. Aside from Piemonte Lithium, for example, reports have indicated Tesla is in talks with Canadian mining company Giga Metals to develop a low-carbon nickel mine, which will also be built in North America.

Below you can access the Piedmont Lithium press release.

Piemonte Lithium Deal by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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