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Where will the gigafactory get all the lithium?

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Genebe, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Genebe

    Genebe Member

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    Interesting article. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tesla purchase this mining company:
    http://etfdailynews.com/2014/09/24/what-impact-will-the-tesla-motors-inc-tsla-gigafactory-have-on-lithium/


    "By 2020, the gigafactory will be producing 500,000 (500K) lithium-ion batteries a year. That is more lithium-ion batteries than are currently produced in the entire world. If the other lithium battery producers keep production at the same level, the demand for lithium will double over the next six years. This will hugely impact its price.

    We expect to see the first lithium production in October. Orocobre will steadily ramp up the production rate to 17,500 tons per year (17.5 Ktpa). That is quite large on a world scale. A big geological advantage of this project is that it’s a salar [salt lake]: The lithium-containing brine is pumped out of the salar and allowed to evaporate in the sun. Producing by that method is a low-cash-cost operation. Orocobre expects the cash costs to be $2K per ton. Current lithium prices are trading at $5–7K per ton"
     
  2. sitter_k

    sitter_k Member

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    #2 sitter_k, Sep 28, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
    Not sure if this will hold true, but Musk said previously they will only use US sourced lithium. I have my suspicions about which company might be a raw materials supplier.
     
  3. Mookuh

    Mookuh Member

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  4. Svenssons

    Svenssons Member

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    It's not clear what "500,000 (500K) lithium-ion batteries a year" means in how much lithium that will be needed. One lithium-ion battery contains only a very small part of lithium.
     
  5. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That is an excellent point. The cells do not contain very much lithium. It's a key part of the chemistry, but not a major constituent by mass. Other materials are probably more important from a supply point of view.
     
  6. cjc9er

    cjc9er Member

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    The amount of graphite in lithium ion batteries greatly outweighs the amount of lithium, so it's more interesting from an investing perspective to consider where the graphite will be sourced. Needs to be very high purity flake graphite as well, which narrows the range of acceptable mines...
     
  7. Beckler

    Beckler Member

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    I wonder if it's viable for Tesla to mine lithium, or aluminum or whatever else they need, themselves. I mean, how hard is it to dig stuff out of the ground? :) Seriously though, this might cut cost even further - I wonder if they've even considered it. Ideally they could open a mine right beside GF.
     
  8. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    Your not serious I hope but will answer in case you are. Despite low margins and gluts of aluminum alcoa has patents on the bonding of aluminum in auto use so they would have to pay licensing fee to them. At a time tesla is having issues building enough cars (using your logic how difficult could that be?) you want them to branch out to mine bauxite and produce aluminum. Maybe alcoa should cut out tesla and just build the cars since patents are released
     
  9. tom66

    tom66 Member

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    Best leaving mining to the companies which can compete amongst each other to provide the best price available.
     
  10. GoBlue88

    GoBlue88 Member

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    I'm sure ANI Pharmaceuticals will be happy to supply them with as much lithium as they want! </rimshot>
     
  11. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I hope it is Rockwood lithium who has a mine and processing facility about 250 miles from the GigaFactory. I purchased a few shares on the likely hood they are the dominate source.

    USA: Production Sites Rockwood Lithium

    And by the way lithium is pumped out of the ground from a brine not typically mined. And I believe the 85 KWh Model S battery has about 15lbs of lithium in it. So a little goes a long way.
     
  12. rnlass2

    rnlass2 Member

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    Replying to the original thread, there is sufficient lithium in Northwest Nevada in the current Silverpeak and Western Lithium USA Corp mines it appears. Am unfamiliar with Rockwood Lithium. But the question of graphite is one that is interesting.
     
  13. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Is not graphite a pure form of carbon and while there may be some production challenges carbon is EASY to obtain and plentiful.
     
  14. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

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    We prefer carbamazepine and valproic acid these days

    mad-doctor-nerd-9229281.jpg
    :)
     
  15. sublimaze1

    sublimaze1 8Dec2012 / Leeroy Jenkins

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    carpe diem
     
  16. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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  17. The Flash

    The Flash New Member

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    The lithium in a Tesla is in the form of lithium hydroxide used by Panasonic to make the battery. There are many folks who claim they will be in the lithium extraction business. That is only the first step you then need to know how to make high purity lithium hydroxide.
     
  18. Red Sage

    Red Sage The Cybernetic Samurai

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    These are the primary elements that Tesla Motors will need for their batteries:

    LiNiCoAlO2
    Batteries

    Li Lithium
    Ni Nickel
    Co Cobalt
    Al Aluminum
    O Oxygen


    • Lithium is commonly used in numerous industries, and battery production is currently exceeded by its use in production of ceramics and glass, it is by no means rare.
    • Nickel is used primarily in plating of other metals to resist corrosion, in creating stainless steel, or in alloys in other compounds.
    • Cobalt is often found in places that also mine Nickel (also used in Tesla batteries) or Copper (also used in Tesla AC induction motors).
    • Aluminum is already supplied to Tesla Motors by way of ALCOA, based in Tennessee.
    • Oxygen can be taken from the ambient air, or purchased as a pure refined, compressed source for the production of batteries.

    None of these is particularly exotic. They are nowhere near as rare as the Naysayers, $h0r+s, and Bears would have us think. Nor are their prices bound to go up, due to a phantom 'shortage' caused by the increased demand a single Gigafactory, or even a dozen of them, coming online to service the needs of Tesla Motors. Instead, their price will go down due to that demand, as suppliers vie to double, triple, and quadruple their current business. That is because each and every one of them is regularly used in items that are NOT batteries.
     
  19. Tasdevil

    Tasdevil Member

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    Price will go up if demand can't be met.
    However I suspect tesla to negotiate a 5 year contract on price and supply.(or something similar). So they won't be as effected by fluctuations.
     
  20. AlMc

    AlMc 'Senior Moments' member

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