Tesla (TSLA) has secured new “Active Anode Material” from graphite for battery production in a rare new offtake agreement deal with Syrah Resources Limited.
Australia’s Syrah Resources Limited operates a graphite mine in Balama, Mozambique.
The mine supplies an upcoming natural graphite Active Anode Material (AAM) production facility based in Vidalia, Louisiana.
Syrah is currently ramping up the facility to produce 10kt of AAM per year.
Today, the company announced that Tesla has secured most of that production through a new offtake agreement:
Tesla will offtake the majority of the proposed initial expansion of AAM production capacity at Vidalia at a fixed price for an initial term of four years commencing from the achievement of a commercial production rate, subject to final qualification. Tesla also has an option to offtake additional volume from Vidalia subject to Syrah expanding its capacity beyond 10kt per annum AAM.
Tesla rarely does offtake agreements with junior mining companies, but in this case, the project appears to already be quite advanced.
As we previously reported, Tesla has recently asked the US government to waive tariffs on graphite from China – claiming that it can’t get the mineral elsewhere.
The request covered both artificial and natural graphite.
Furthermore, Tesla has indicated that it is working on new chemistry that it obtained through a startup acquisition that utilizes a new silicon in the anode to replace the graphite.
The automaker said that it plans to use this silicon in some versions of its 4680 battery cells that will be produced in-house.
The company is currently ramping up production at its large-scale (10 GWh) pilot plant in Fremont and hopes to deploy 4680 battery cell production capacity in even larger volumes (100 GWh) at Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas next year.
But the automaker also said that it plans to use a variety of chemistries and cell supply in order to satisfy its rapidly growing need for battery cells as it ramps up battery-electric vehicle production.