The biggest risk in battery materials from Russia’s increasing economic isolation centers on supplies of top-notch Arctic nickel controlled by the country’s richest man.
Russia is a major producer of the metal that will be needed in huge quantities as the world’s auto fleet goes battery-powered. That means the electric-vehicle industry has much at stake as global businesses rejig ties in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. Mining giant BHP Group on Monday warned of nickel supply shocks.
The key lies with giant mines in far northern Siberia that were first dug in Stalin’s time and which are now run by MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC.
Norilsk makes 17% of the world’s so-called “Class 1” nickel, a high-purity form that’s more suitable for batteries and can be sourced in large quantities from only a few other locations. The company is controlled by multi-billionaire Vladimir Potanin.
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