Tesla orders cobalt from two Chinese suppliers

Image: Tesla

Tesla has signed new contracts with two of its existing Chinese suppliers of battery materials. Huayou Cobalt and CNGR Advanced Material signed pricing agreements with Tesla for deliveries through the middle of this decade.

Bloomberg reports this, citing separate stock exchange announcements from the two companies. Huayou Cobalt will supply Tesla from 1 July 2022 to the end of 2025 and CNGR between 2023 and 2025, according to the statement, which is the latest move by Tesla to secure supplies of the key raw materials “amid increasing competition”, Bloomberg said.

In both cases, the deals relate to precursors of “ternary lithium-ion batteries” – the term used to describe batteries with a mix of three materials in the cathode, typically nickel, cobalt and manganese. While at Huayou Cobalt the material in question is already in the company name, at CNGR it is also likely to be cobalt: the company’s main products include ternary precursors and cobalt tetroxide.

Nothing is known about the agreed delivery quantities. The binding agreed prices are also not mentioned, with Huayou Cobalt stating in the stock exchange release that “the prices of the products would be subject to the market prices of nickel, cobalt and manganese as well as refining charges”.

Both Huayou and CNGR are on the list of direct suppliers that Tesla published in its 2021 Sustainability Report. In the stock exchange release, CNGR said it had been supplying Tesla since 2020.

As demand for electric cars and the production plans of carmakers are currently growing faster than the development of new mining projects, fierce competition has arisen for the necessary battery raw materials. Ford, for example, announced at the end of July that it had secured sufficient battery cells until the end of 2023. Ford is also negotiating several partnerships to secure its nickel and lithium needs until 2026 and beyond.



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