BHP opens Australia’s first nickel sulphate plant – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – October 1, 2021)

BHP (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) said on Friday it had produced the first nickel sulphate crystals from its plant in Kwinana, outside Perth, a part of the miner’s strategy to grow its battery metals footprint to meet expected soaring demand.

Nickel is a key component for electric vehicle (EV) cathodes, and the world’s no. 1 mining company expects demand for the metal from the batteries sector alone to increase by 500% over the next decade.

Nickel sulphate, a key battery chemical, has much higher margins than nickel metal and BHP believes it will be in high demand due to a spike in the adoption EVs, as governments commit to decarbonizing and set end dates for combustion engine sales.

The Kwinana plant, which BHP and authorities call an “Australian first”, will produce 100,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate per year when fully operational. That is enough premium product to make 700,000 EV batteries each year, Nickel West asset president Jessica Farrell said in the statement.

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