Elon Musk is reducing the use of cobalt to fight child labor

Sara Maryssael, Tesla’s global supply manager for battery metals, reported about Tesla’s concern of a shortage of crucial battery minerals used in the creation of batteries for not only EVs but smart-home systems. Smart-home systems alone will consume about 1.5 million tonnes of copper by 2030. Elon Musk, as is most of the battery industry, is reducing the use of cobalt in favor of nickel to fight child labor and other controversial practices adopted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, maybe the first cobalt supplier.

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At the Benchmark Minerals Intelligence conference held on May 2nd in Washington, Sara Maryssael reported on a real concern of the automaker.

Due to underinvestment in the mining sector, Tesla sights the next future lack of critical minerals used to make Ev's batteries.

The most immediately pressing interest is copper. The percentage of this metal used for EV cars is almost twice that compared to combustion vehicles. Moreover, the demand for copper is expected to remarkably increase, and not only because of the car industry. According to data from consultancy BSRIA, by 2030 about 1.5 million tonnes of copper, up from 38,000 tonnes now, will be consumed by the smart-home systems.

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Maryssael advised attendees that partnering with new copper mines in the U.S. or Australia offers "huge potential." Australia, late last year signed a preliminary deal with the United States to support shared research and development of minerals deemed critical to the U.S. economy.

Maryssael also added that Tesla would continue to concentrate more on nickel than on cobalt, as per Elon Musk’s plan to limit the use of cobalt in batteries as much as possible. The use of cobalt is very unpopular in the battery industry because it is known to be extracted - mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo - using child labor and other controversial practices.

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