Building North America's Next Primary Cobalt Mine

March 31, 2014

Tesla's (TSLA) $5 billion battery factory will source raw materials from North America

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA, Stock Forum), the electric vehicle maker co-founded by Elon Musk, plans to use only raw materials sourced in North America for its proposed $5 billion U.S. battery factory, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The Silicon Valley company won't look overseas for the graphite, cobalt and other materials needed for its so-called Gigafactory, said Liz Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla in an email to Bloomberg.

The Gigafactory is important for commodity markets because of its sheer scale. While Tesla has yet to select a site in the western U.S. for the plant, plans that were first revealed in February envisage the production of enough rechargeable lithium-ion batteries each year by 2020 to power 500,000 Tesla vehicles.

The factory would singlehandedly double world output of lithium-ion units. The factory is so big that without more cobalt supply there will be a cobalt shortage, according to Stuart Burns, co-founder of Chicago-based pricing and analysis company Metal Miner.

TSLA shares eased 1.4% to $209.30 on Monday, leaving a market cap of $25.8 billion, based on 123.2 million shares outstanding. The 52-week range is $265 and $40.21.

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