Tesla CEO Elon Musk is pictured joining the start of production at Tesla’s “Gigafactory” on March 22, 2022 in Gruenheide, southeast of Berlin.
Patrick Pliol | AFP | Getty Images
Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla could enter the lithium mining and refining business directly and on a scale because the price of metal, a key component of battery production, has become so high.
“Lithium prices have gone insane,” Musk tweeted. “There is no shortage of material, because lithium is found almost everywhere in the world, but the speed of extraction / refining is slow.”
The technical boss of Tesla and SpaceX responded to a tweet showing the average price of lithium per ton over the last two decades, which has seen a huge increase in prices since 2021. According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the price of the metal has risen further by 480% compared to last year.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior, lithium deposits are actually present throughout the United States.
Lithium is valuable in electric car batteries because it is both the lightest metal and the least dense solid material. This means that batteries made of lithium have a high power-to-weight ratio, which is important when working with transport.
Friday’s tweet is not the first time that Musk Tesla has raised the idea of his own lithium mine.
In 2020, Tesla secured its own rights to lithium mining in Nevada, when a deal to buy a lithium mining company broke down, according to Fortune, which sat “people familiar with the matter.”