The growing market for electric vehicles is likely to see increased pressure for nickel, a critical component for the nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries used in EVs, Ken Hoffman, senior expert at McKinsey’s Basic Materials Institute, said during The Northern Miner’s Global Mining Symposium in May.
In an interview with Frik Els, executive editor of MINING.com, Hoffman said that sales of EVs reached over 3 million units last year, up from around 22,000 a decade ago.
“If it weren’t for a shortage of [micro]chips in 2021, you’d probably be looking at six to seven million EVs sold by the end of this year,” he said.
Last year EV batteries consumed around 200,000 tonnes of nickel, with over 300,000 tonnes expected this year. “Currently, about 20% to 25% of global nickel production is going into EVs as class 1 products.”
With nickel content greater than 99.8%, class 1 products provide the purity required for NMC batteries. Class 2 products, which contain less than 99.8% nickel, are used to make stainless steel and alloys.
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