Tesla CEO Elon Musk calls for increase in nickel production
This call came with a warning that the current high cost of nickel, which is a key component of the batteries that Tesla cars run on, is an obstacle to the company’s further growth. Nickel is also important for the production of solar panels, which is another priority for Tesla.
Earlier this week Mr Musk announced: “Tesla will give you a giant contract for a long period of time if you mine nickel efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way”.
While Mr Musk’s comments made headlines, analysts and mining industry traders are sceptical that they would bring about an actual increase in nickel production - or that such a move would have any impact on the price of nickel.
One nickel trader in China was reported as saying: “He needs nickel, so he hopes nickel prices will go lower and lower. [But] prices will not be impacted in the short-term because the market is in surplus.”
The price of nickel is currently $13,180 - higher than the 14-month low that it reached in March this year, but still 30% down on the five-year peak that was seen in September 2019.
In the event that Tesla moves to acquire higher volumes of nickel, given the company’s dedication to sustainability, it would probably buy from suppliers of nickel sulphide, which is more economical to process than laterite ore. This makes it likely that Tesla would approach one of Vale, a Brazilian company operating in Canada, the Russian concern Norilsk Nickel, or the Australian BHP Group.
Elon Musk also commented: “The real limitation on Tesla growth is cell production at affordable price. That’s the real limit”.
AngloGold Ashanti establishes BG Umoja JV in Tanzania
AngloGold Ashanti, in line with it s strategy to ensure a sustainable contribution to the economies of host countries, has established the BG Umoja joint venture (JV), in Tanzania.
Awarded a $186m two-year mining contract for the Nyankanga and Geita Hill underground mining projects, the 80/20 joint venture is a partnership between Africa Underground Mining Services (AUMS) Tanzania, a subsidiary of Australia’s Perenti Group, and local drilling services and mining- supply company, Geofields Tanzania Limited.
The partnership is modelled on a similar underground mining joint venture at the Company’s Obuasi Redevelopment Project in Ghana between AUMS Ghana and Accra-based, wholly Ghanaian-owned Rocksure and will help build local specialised mining capacity.
“We’re working with our experienced mining contractors to assist in establishing local joint ventures for long-term transfer of sustainable skills, and to continue building on our sustainable local procurement programmes,” commented Sicelo Ntuli, AngloGold Ashanti’s Chief Operating Officer: Africa.
“AngloGold Ashanti is building sustainable local procurement programmes that will allow it to stimulate economic and social development at all of its operations, evidenced by the significant contribution Geita has made to the fiscus and people of Tanzania.”
AngloGold Ashanti’s annual expenditure with indigenous Tanzanian suppliers has almost tripled to $162mn since 2016. The company’s local team in Tanzania has set itself an ambitious target of 60% to 70% of all expenditures with indigenous Tanzanian companies, by 2025.
Scope 3 Emissions
In addition, AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Gold Mine has awarded a two-year fuel transportation contract, worth approximately $10.8m a year, to two local contractors - one of which is originally from Geita. This is in line with the mine’s commitment to contribute to the economies of host communities. The Geita-based company was part of Geita Mine’s supply chain capacity building initiative for host community suppliers, a partnership between the Mine and the National Economic Empowerment Council.
To influence Scope 3 emissions, trucks are to be compliant with EURO IV emissions standards, tankers are to be made of an aluminium alloy material to reduce weight and the age of the fleet will be maintained at less than six years.
Diversity & Inclusion
The contractors already employ women fuel tanker drivers, fulfilling the Mine’s requirements for diversity and inclusion. The two contractors both own workshop facilities in Geita town and participate in social initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of host community residents.
AngloGold Ashanti has been operating at Geita Gold Mine for more than 20 years, with the project initially a single pit mine, evolving now to a predominantly underground operation, employing 5,700 employees and contractors.
Earlier this year, the Government of Tanzania recognized AngloGold Ashanti’s contribution to the economy of the country, awarding it for its outstanding performance in a number of areas, including environmental and safety performance, corporate social investment, the best taxpayer in the mining sector, the runners up in local business content and overall best performer in the mining sector in Tanzania in 2019/2020.
Geita Gold Mine
Geita, one of AngloGold Ashanti’s flagship mines, is located in north-western Tanzania in the Lake Victoria goldfields of Mwanza region, about 120km from Mwanza and 4km west of the town of Geita. It has been in operation as a large-scale mine since 2000.