The company confirmed the agreement after Tesla released its 2021 Impact Report, in which it outlined details about its battery supply chain.
In Sudbury, Vale operates five mines, a mill, a smelter and a refinery, where it produces nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum group metals, gold, and silver. Together, the operations employ 4,000 people.
Additionally, Vale produces nickel at its Thompson, MB, complex.
In a May 6 news release, the company said the "long-term contract" to supply Tesla with Class 1 nickel is “in line with our strategy to increase exposure to the electric vehicle industry, leveraging our low-carbon footprint and market-leading position as North America’s largest producer of finished nickel.”
“We are pleased to have the leading electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla among our customers,” said Deshnee Naidoo, Vale’s executive vice-president of base metals, in the release.
“This agreement reflects a shared commitment to sustainability and shows very clearly we are the supplier-of-choice for low-carbon and high purity nickel products essential for long-range batteries.”
Vale said it’s aiming to provide 30 per cent to 40 per cent of its Class 1 nickel to the electric vehicle industry.
According to the company, its Canadian operations produce “some of the lowest-carbon nickel globally.”
Rounds from its Long Harbour refinery in Newfoundland & Labrador in 2020 had a verified carbon footprint of 4.4 tonnes CO2 equivalent per tonne of nickel, Vale noted, while pellets and powder from the Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery in Ontario had a verified footprint of 7.3 tonnes equivalent. This includes Scope 1 and 2 emissions from mining, milling and refining as well as upstream Scope 3 emissions from inputs.