BHP has flagged it could double down on its foray into supplying nickel chemicals to the growing electric vehicle market as it looks to capitalise on the “new energy revolution”.
The head of BHP’s resurgent Nickel West nickel division, Eddy Haegel, told The Australian Nickel Conference in Perth yesterday that the company was looking to bring forward stage two of its proposed nickel sulphate processing plant at its Kwinana refinery after being inundated with inquiries from the world’s biggest battery manufacturers.
He also revealed the company was investigating the economic and technical feasibility of moving even further downstream with the potential development of a cathode precursor plant at Kwinana. “The new energy revolution is coming and it will be very good news for our local nickel industry,” Mr Haegel said.
In August, BHP announced plans for a $US43 million nickel sulphate circuit at its Kwinana nickel refinery, which would produce the form of powdered nickel that is used in lithium ion batteries.
That initial circuit will produce 100,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate, but BHP is now looking to double that output after strong feedback from battery manufacturers.