Commodities, Lithium, News

Tesla ‘a fantastic poster child’ for lithium: Pilbara Minerals


It’s no secret that Tesla has been a key trailblazer for the electric vehicle (EV) market and the lithium industry within that.

The company produced its first fully electric car in 2008 – the Tesla Roadster – and has gone from strength to strength since.

While competitors such as Ford, General Motors (GM) and Audi are beginning to eat into Tesla’s market share, the company continues to be an inspiration for the burgeoning EV industry.

Pilbara Minerals play an important part in the EV industry from the ground level, providing the spodumene concentrate critical to the production of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs.

Pilbara Minerals chief executive officer Ken Brinsden believes Tesla’s leadership has been critical to the development of the EV market and the lithium sector connected to that.

“(Tesla has been) a fantastic poster child for the industry because of their profile, the quality in the cars, the technology they’re deploying,” Brinsden said.

“It’s been really, really good for the EV story and part of the reason why people now see them as being a real option – the EV being a real option – whether it’s a Tesla or not.”

Tesla has also shown more of a hands-on approach than many of its competitors, understanding the upstream process that underscores the creation of an EV.

“The second thing I would give them (Tesla) credit for, and by the way, this is very rare. As an end user, they’ve been pretty good at exploring upstream in the supply chain, including raw materials, to understand what’s going on in the industry,” Brinsden says.

“That is an exception; that’s not a rule. I would say, you can count on less than one hand the end users – the car makers, battery makers – who have done a good job of understanding upstream in the supply chain.”

So far, 2021 has been a capstone year for Pilbara Minerals. The Western Australia company has seen its share price balloon over the past 18 months, rising from as low as $0.13 on March 23, 2020, to above $2 in August – a price that has remained, standing at $2.34 on December 7.

Pilbara Minerals delivered record production of 281,098 dry metric tonnes (dmt) of spodumene concentrate in the 2021 financial year (FY21), an increase from 90,768dmt in the 2020 financial year.

The company also reported record shipments for FY21, with 281,440dmt setting sail across the 12 months.

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