Tesla is partnering with the New Caledonia nickel mine as a technical advisor as a way to secure stocks of nickel, Mining Global has reported. The deal was signed in the French Pacific territory and noted that the partnership is a “technical and industrial partnership” in which Tesla will source raw materials for batteries.
This is a pretty big deal for New Caledonia given its political structure and how it literally fell apart over a nickel deal and independence push earlier this year, according to The Guardian, all of which included the collapse of a multi-party government led by President Thierry Santa. There’s a lot going on there, for sure.
Mining Global noted that the Brazilian miner Vale’s choice to sell its nickel mine and processing plant to a consortium that included Trafigura, a Swiss commodity trader, added a lot of fuel to the fire by sparking opposition from pro-independence groups. Violent protests led Vale to shut down its site in December.
However, a recent agreement between the political groups and other interests was established and both Vale and Trafitura seem to be satisfied. Under this agreement, political groups proposed a 51% stake in the Vale operations to be held by New Caledonia’s provincial authorities and local interests. Trafigura will have a 19% stake, which is less than the original 25% that was in the sales deal with Vale.
In a statement, Vale said, “Our task now is to complete any and all outstanding items to allow the transaction to formally conclude.”
A Trafigura spokesperson stated, “We’re looking forward to operations resuming and for final completion of the transaction as soon as possible.” Tesla’s part in all of this is being an industrial partner that will help with product and sustainability standards. Tesla will also be taking supply for its battery production, the political agreement noted.
New Caledonia is the world’s 4th largest nickel producer.
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