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Lithium Refining Is a ‘License to Print Money,’ Musk Says

Electric auto giant insists there’s still not enough global capacity to process raw materials into ingredients needed for lithium-ion batteries.

A Liex lithium mine project in Catamarca province, Argentina.

A Liex lithium mine project in Catamarca province, Argentina.

Photographer: Anita Pouchard Serra/Bloomberg
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Elon Musk has called for more investment in global lithium refining to ease shortages in battery materials — and promised those who seize the opportunity it’s as lucrative as “basically minting money.”

“I’d like to once again urge entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business. The mining is relatively easy, the refining is much harder,” Tesla Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Musk said on a Wednesday earnings call, adding there are software-like margins to be made in lithium processing. “You can’t lose, it’s a license to print money.”