Musk reveals Tesla plans to enter lithium mining sector

Tesla is set to enter the mining business with a lithium claim on 10,000 acres in Nevada, CEO Elon Musk announced at its Battery Day event yesterday.

The electric vehicle maker is planning to be a sustainable miner with a low impact on the local environment, according to Musk.

“We take a chunk of dirt in the ground, extract the lithium, and put the chunk of dirt back where it was. It will look pretty much the same as before,” he said.

“What is the best way to take the ore and extract the lithium and do so in an environmentally-friendly way? We have been looking at from a first principle physic standpoint instead of just the way it has always been done,” he continued.

“We found that we can actually use table salt, sodium chloride, to basically extract the lithium from the ore. Nobody has done this before to the best of my knowledge.

During the eagerly anticipated event, Tesla also revealed a new battery supply strategy involving the development of its own lithium processing method.

“We are going to use a new process that we will pioneer. It’s a sulfate-free process again, we skip the intermediate. It will result in a 33% reduction in lithium cost,” said Drew Baglino, SVP of engineering at Tesla.