Nickel is a key component for the cathodes of electric vehicle batteries and makes them more energy-dense.
Although nickel accounts for a very small part of BHP’s portfolio, the miner’s chief executive Mike Henry has made a priority of seeking to increase exposure to so-called “future-facing” commodities including nickel and copper that will be increasingly required to meet the world’s evolving needs.
BHP has been seeking to expand its Nickel West unit after reversing plans to sell the assets, which had once been deemed “non-core” to its portfolio. The majority of BHP’s nickel division now sells into the electric car market rather than the stainless steel industry.
Robyn Denholm, Tesla’s Australian-born chairwoman, last month declared Tesla was on track to spend more than $1 billion a year on Australian-mined lithium, nickel and other metals needed to make batteries and vehicles, but warned the country was missing out on a far more valuable role in the global supply chain.