The global green transition and electrification of transport has started a paradigm shift in the demand dynamics of metals, which are required for a low-carbon future, and are set to experience a significant boost in demand in the coming decade at least, says research agency Fitch Solutions.
Battery-grade nickel, or Class 1 nickel (which contains more than 99.8% nickel content), used in rechargeable batteries is a major beneficiary, especially as the configuration of lithium/nickel/manganese/cobalt (NMC) oxide batteries used in electric vehicles (EV), is changing, with a shift from a 1:1:1 ratio (meaning nickel, manganese and cobalt were used in the same proportion) to 5:3:2, and then to the latest 8:1:1 (with eight parts nickel to one part of manganese and cobalt each).
In fact, Fitch Solutions says Class 1 nickel “will see demand outstripping supply in the coming years as EV production and adoption accelerate”. It attributes this to a severe lack of sufficient new Class 1 nickel mining projects in the pipeline and strong EV production and sales forecasts by the agency’s autos team.
Fitch Solutions’ autos team forecasts EV sales to increase from the 5.6-million units sold this year to 26.7-million units sold in 2030 and sees strong upside risks to these estimates.