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Tesla signs deal to source nickel from Minnesota mine

The electric automaker has committed to purchasing 75,000 metric tons of nickel concentrate over six years from Talon Metals’ planned mine in Tamarack near Duluth.

TAMARACK, Minn. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired in October of 2021. 

The company that plans to develop a nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota has made a major supply deal with Tesla, the electric vehicle maker. 

Tesla has committed to purchasing 75,000 metric tons of nickel concentrate over six years from Talon Metals’ planned mine in Tamarack, a community about 50 miles west of Duluth in Aitkin County. 

Mining.com reports that the deal could be worth $1.5 billion if consummated. 

“This agreement is the start of an innovative partnership between Tesla and Talon for the responsible production of battery materials directly from the mine to the battery cathode," said Henri van Rooyen, CEO of Talon. "Talon is committed to meeting the highest standards of responsible production that is fully traceable and that has the lowest embedded CO2 footprint in the industry.”

Tesla founder Elon Musk has pleaded with the mining industry to develop more environmentally friendly methods of nickel extraction.  

Talon hopes to open the mine by January 2026, but has not yet started the permitting process with the state of Minnesota. 

Nickel is a key ingredient in manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles. Tesla would claim more than half of the mine’s production of nickel concentrate, which would need to be further refined before it could be used to make batteries.

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