Tesla Motors Looks to North America for Raw Materials

Posted on April 02, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

Tesla Motors, a premier electric vehicle manufacturer, announced this week that it will only use raw materials sourced from North America for its proposed $5 billion U.S. battery “Gigafactory.”

Rather than look overseas for their minerals, Tesla will use graphite, cobalt and other necessary materials from North American sources. Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman said, “It will enable us to establish a supply chain that is local and focused on minimizing environmental impact while significantly reducing battery cost.”

Access to minerals means both a more productive and globally competitive America, as minerals are among the most important components of technologies that are furthering our innovation. The supply chain that Jarvis-Shean mentions is exactly what we need for a steady supply of minerals to meet our technological needs.

A recent op-ed by NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussed this very issue. Quinn said:

“A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey revealed that more than 70% of the chief executives in auto, high-tech and other key industries fear future mineral supply scarcity… Unstable mineral and metal supply chains could threaten the tremendous economic jolt Wisconsin manufacturers such as Joy Global have provided the state in recent years. Local manufacturing firms are largely responsible for the significant job growth and economic opportunities that have abounded in Wisconsin since the recession and have helped to grow jobs in the state's private sector at its fastest rate since 1994.

The United States is blessed with one of the largest mineral endowments in the world, valued at $6.2 trillion. Unfortunately, we are cursed with a Third World permitting system, tied for last place with Papua New Guinea. The process is outdated, entangled in red tape and fraught with duplication. It stalls projects, places manufacturing supply chains at risk and keeps high-wage jobs on the sidelines.”

If more companies like Tesla Motors are able to successfully tap into the North American raw materials market and establish a steady supply chain, the United States could become more self-reliant and less dependent on foreign minerals, which could greatly aid in stimulating the U.S.’ economic recovery.

Continue reading about Tesla Motors here.

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