American electric vehicles and battery maker Tesla stated that it intends to spend more than $1 billion per year on battery raw materials from Australia given the country’s reliable mining industry and responsible production process.
Australia, which is rich in minerals used in batteries such as lithium and nickel, is primed to benefit as expanding supply chains for electric vehicle batteries and the green energy revolution focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) according to Ms. Robyn Denholm, chair of the US carmaker.
”We expect our spend on Australian minerals to increase to more than $1 billion per annum for the next few years,” Ms. Denholm added.
Tesla already gets three-quarters of its lithium and over a third of its nickel from Australia, she said, without specifying a dollar figure.
Ms. Denholm pointed out that “Australian mining companies do have a good reputation, great expertise, professionalism and are preferred by manufacturers increasingly concerned about meeting both today’s and the future’s ESG requirements.”
The remarks are in line with US President Mr. Joe Biden’s administration’s new policy of relying on partners to supply the majority of the metals needed to make electric vehicles.
Two administration officials with direct knowledge said that the US will then focus on refining those metals domestically into battery parts as part of a strategy to appease environmentalists. Australia, along with Canada and Brazil, is expected to benefit.
Australia’s exports of hard rock lithium, known as spodumene, are likely to reach $773 million this year, while its nickel exports are expected to surpass $3.09 billion, according to government data.
Tesla also provides batteries to Australia to store energy captured from rooftop solar panels which shore up reliability in its energy network.
The per-capita density of rooftop solar panels in Australia is the highest in the world.