The world’s biggest miners, including BHP Group and Glencore Plc, are finally firm believers in the electric vehicle battery revolution — what they don’t agree on is which metals will deliver the best long-term exposure to the developing global market.
BHP has revived a declining nickel unit in Western Australia to target the sector, while Rio Tinto Group is accelerating work to enter the lithium market. Glencore is focusing on cobalt and copper and Anglo American Plc is examining prospects for platinum and palladium to be deployed in future battery technologies.
“We did a review of all the battery input materials — nickel, cobalt, lithium,” said Eduard Haegel, asset president at the BHP’s Nickel West unit. “We think that in the medium-to-longer term there will be a margin that will be sticky for nickel — we think it’s an attractive commodity.”
BHP, the biggest miner, this year reversed long-term efforts to seek a buyer for the division, opting to retain Nickel West to benefit from forecast growth in lithium-ion batteries and a scarcity of high-quality nickel supply.
From the second quarter of 2020, the unit will begin production of bright-turquoise colored nickel sulphate — a premium raw material for the battery supply chain — from a nickel refinery south of Perth, with plans to potentially carry out the industry’s largest expansion.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-05/the-top-miners-are-split-on-how-to-chase-the-ev-battery-boom