Pro Take: Can Nickel, Cobalt and Other Battery Metals Be Sourced Sustainably? – by Yusuf Khan (Wall Street Journal – May 11, 2023)

Environmental worries over Indonesian nickel are being used to build a case for deep sea mining

As companies and countries withdraw their support for seabed mining, the about-face is raising broader questions about how metals used in battery production are sourced and the scale of the associated environmental costs. The sourcing of nickel particularly has been in the spotlight.

Last week, A.P. Moller-Maersk became the latest company to drop its investment in The Metals Company, a prospective seabed miner based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Lockheed Martin and Norway’s Storebrand also have recently sold their interests in deep-sea mining companies.

Others including German luxury carmaker BMW have said that, given environmental concerns, they won’t use battery metals sourced from the deep sea. More than a dozen countries are concerned about the environmental impact of the practice and are calling for a moratorium on seabed mining.

Exponential growth in the sale of electric vehicles and an expected further rise in the demand for them, however, are fueling a global race to find and mine metals such as nickel and cobalt. Companies are looking to secure supplies in ways that minimize environmental and humanitarian concerns, but are finding it to be a challenge.

For the rest of this article: