Tesla Nickel Partner Talon Metals Expands Exploration at Tamarack Mine

Tesla nickel partner Talon Metals announced on Wednesday that it has purchased three additional drill rigs to accelerate battery mineral exploration at its Tamarack nickel-copper-cobalt project mine in central Minnesota.

Talon said the new drills will be deployed to expand the company’s “exploration of the Tamarack Intrusive Complex for additional high-grade nickel, copper and cobalt.”

“The need to secure domestic sources of battery minerals like nickel has become more urgent. Climate change is accelerating and the United States is dependent on foreign countries for key ingredients needed for clean energy and battery storage,” said Talon Metals CEO Henri van Rooyen. “President Biden, with the bipartisan support of Congress, recently elevated the domestic sourcing of battery materials like nickel to a national priority. Our investment in new equipment, people and technology to explore for battery minerals in Minnesota meets this national priority and goal.

The new pads will be used to explore additional areas outside of the main Tamarack Mine resource area. The main resource area is where many intercepts of high-grade material, such as nickel-copper mineralization, have already been discovered, the company said. Mineralization yields up to 9.95% nickel.

Talon signed a nickel supply deal with Tesla in January. The exact terms of the deal were unknown, but Tesla secured 75,000 tons of nickel over six years from Talon, which would also supply the electric carmaker with cobalt and iron ore for its electric vehicle batteries. Additionally, the agreement can be extended “for up to 12 months, after which Tesla has the right to terminate the agreement and Talon may elect to sell to other parties.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called for increased nickel mining during an earnings call in July 2020. Musk asked. “Wherever you are in the world, please mine more nickel, and don’t wait for the nickel to go back to some high you had about five years ago or whatever. Go for efficiency, because environmentally friendly, high-volume nickel mining. Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long time if you mine nickel in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. So I hope this message goes out to all mining companies.

Tesla also signed an agreement with BHP, an Australian nickel company, in July 2021.

Nickel experts are calling for increased domestic production of the material as prices have soared due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Trent Mell, a nickel mining expert, said Teslarati in an interview last month that auto industry leaders like Musk and Ford CEO Jim Farley needed to push for greater North American production of EV battery materials. Mell’s wishes were granted, as President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to reduce foreign reliance on materials.

“I am encouraged by this latest step and what it could mean for the Idaho cobalt belt,” Mell told Teslarati in an emailed statement. “We cannot achieve a low carbon future without new nickel, cobalt and lithium mines. Building mines in America is important to our national security and industrial interests, and we can achieve our clean energy ambitions in a safer, cleaner, and more responsible way.

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Tesla Nickel Partner Talon Metals Expands Exploration at Tamarack Mine

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