VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Tightening long-term fundamentals for nickel are sketching a rosy picture for the stainless steel-making ingredient, as increased dependence from the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market adds a growing new demand stream in an already constrained supply scenario.
RNC Minerals president and CEO Mark Selby recently told an audience in Toronto that the nickel market has surprised many commentators with continued strong demand, with the recent market focus shifting to forthcoming demand from EVs in the 2020s expected to support an already robust medium and long-term picture.
According to him, stainless steel underpins an already robust nickel demand scenario. Demand for the metal had grown 5% over the last ten years, intensifying in 2016 and 2017 to more than 7% a year and creating a significant supply deficit in 2017 of more than 150 000 t, or 7% of global supply.
“EV battery demand growth underpins an already robust long-term demand growth story and it is about to drive annual demand growth to 2025 of more than 7%, requiring at least 1.5-million tonnes of new supply.
This is driven by a combination of significant growth in EVs and a shift in battery chemistry toward higher nickel content, as cobalt prices rise,” he stated.