SHANGHAI, April 18 (Reuters) – Russia’s Norilsk Nickel , or Nornickel, is in talks with battery makers over possible investment in its mining assets, but is also interested in downstream joint ventures in return, a company executive said on Wednesday.
“We might be interested in having some deeper cooperation, say on the battery side, and building a more complete value chain,” Anton Berlin told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a battery materials conference in Shanghai.
Nornickel is looking for “more than just an offtake (sales) agreement,” he said, adding that a downstream joint venture in China would be a possibility. Discussions are at an early stage however, and the company is “not in any rush,” he said.
Battery makers in China, the world’s biggest electric vehicle market, have been looking to buy equity stakes in overseas producers of battery ingredients such as cobalt, nickel and lithium in order to ensure critical supplies.
Companies from China, elsewhere in Asia and beyond have been to visit Nornickel assets with a view to making investments, Berlin said.