Southwestern states are vying to become the location for the $5 billion Tesla “gigafactory,” now that it has been reported that California has been eliminated as a potential site. Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona are often cited as leading candidates, with the cities of Mesa and Tucson having already made formal proposals.
According to this article, a new Arizona company’s offer to supply domestically-sourced Manganese and other metals may help tip the scales in Arizona’s favor. The major cost driver for electric cars is the battery. which requires lithium and an array of other metals to manufacture. As of 2011, 97% of these metals were sourced from China, mostly for cost reasons. Obviously, that’s not a strong starting point for the future of clean American transportation.
The Arizona mining company, American Manganese Inc., has received a patent for its manganese refining process, and is reported to be able to deliver the metals at significantly lower cost than the imported alternative sources. In addition, their process uses much less energy and has a greener footprint, overall.