Battery producers and electric automakers, including Tesla Inc., are concerned over longer-term supplies of nickel, a key material in their supply chain that’s forecast to fall into deficit, according to an Australian miner that’s held recent talks with the sector.
The need for the high-purity material used in batteries, known as class-one nickel, is likely to outstrip supply within five years, fueled mainly by rising consumption in the EV industry, according to BloombergNEF.
It’s a concern shared by Tesla, according to Peter Bradford, chief executive officer of nickel producer Independence Group NL, who last week met with a member of the car producer’s battery metals supply chain team.
“They are getting ready to have the new factory in China, and are at full capacity in North America,’’ Bradford said. “They recognize the biggest risk from a strategic supply point of view is nickel.’’
There’s been a lack of sufficient investment in new mines for materials including nickel, a factor that could spur prices as battery sector demand builds, Tesla’s global supply manager of battery metals Sarah Maryssael, told a Washington meeting in May. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on its outlook for nickel and other metals.
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