Elon Musk tweeted his electric car manufacturer Tesla may begin lithium mining and refining business directly, due to the high cost of the metal, which is a key component in battery manufacturing.
“Price of lithium has gone to insane levels,” Musk tweeted. “There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but [the] pace of extraction/refinement is slow.”
The richest man in the world shared the average price of lithium per ton in the last two decades, which has seen an extraordinary increase in prices since 2021. According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the cost of the metal has gone up more than 480% in the last year.
There are indeed deposits of lithium all over the United States, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a division of the U.S. Department of Interior.
Lithium is a vital component in electric car batteries since it’s the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. In other words, Lithium-made batteries have a high power-to-weight ratio, which is important when dealing with transportation.
Friday’s tweet is not the first time Musk has raised the idea of Tesla mining its own lithium. In 2020, Tesla claimed rights to mine lithium in Nevada after a deal to buy a lithium mining company fell through, according to Fortune, which was siting “people familiar with the matter.”