Glencore sees nickel shortage as electric vehicle demand burgeons – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – December 2, 2016)

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore sees a shortage in nickel arising as a result of burgeoning demand from electric vehicle (EV) production.

Batteries used in EVs are consuming about 100 000 t of nickel demand and if 10% of the world’s vehicle fleet transitions to electric power, 400 000 t of nickel would be required on current yearly production of 1.95-million tonnes.

“We see a shortage in nickel,” Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said in response to BNP Paribas analyst Sylvain Brunet during a conference call in which Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online took part.

Analysis by Fitch Group research arm BMI anticipates nickel prices averaging $10 500/t in 2017, moving up to $13 000/t by 2020. “The market does look tight,” said Glasenberg. Nickel ore exports are not occurring from Indonesia, where it is taking time for the nickel pig iron plants to be built.

Also, the Philippines is cutting back on the amount of nickel ore being exported, which has resulted in China producing far less nickel pig iron at a time when demand is increasing considerably and global nickel supply is down year-on-year on price-induced closures.

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