HPAL Nickel Tailings Question Still Unanswered – by Anthony Milewaski (The Assay – May 26, 2021)


In the post-COVID-19 global economic recovery, unprecedented stimulus plans by governments look to accelerate the emerging “Green Economy”.

This approach will ultimately pivot on the metals used to make batteries, and specifically lithium-ion batteries – the current and next generation battery chemistry of choice.

Ironically, lithium-ion batteries actually comprise anything from 30% to 80% nickel, with only a minute proportion being lithium. As a result, it will be nickel mining that plays the leading, mission-critical role.

With the affordability of electric vehicles racing towards parity with internal combustion-driven cars, there is dawning recognition that a wall of demand for battery-grade nickel is approaching. These demand projections should have existing and near-term producers scrambling to position themselves. However, recent moves by China have muddied the waters.

In March, the nickel market was rocked by the announcement that Chinese nickel giant, Tsingshan, had agreed to supply 100,000 tonnes of nickel matte to battery midstream majors CNGR and Huayou Cobalt.

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