BHP increasing focus on battery metals: Diggers and Dealers 2018

BHP has revealed that it is ploughing more investment into the development of nickel and cobalt mine development and production, as the miner looks to capitalise on the looming electric vehicle (EV) boom.

The world’s largest mining company is building what is expected to be the world’s largest battery-grade nickel sulphate plant in Western Australia, which will enter production in April 2019.

With a capacity of 100,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate, the facility will account for the production of around 22,000 tonnes of nickel – which is increasingly hot demand in new battery technologies, as the metal allows EVs to travel further on a single charge.

“I believe that we have timed our entry to the battery and nickel sulphate markets well – interest by customers and potential customers is significantly exceeding expectations,” said BHP asset president Eduard Haegel at the annual Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, WA.

BHP is also accelerating plans to boost its cobalt output and is going ahead with a cobalt sulphate production pilot plant, which could eventually produce a battery-grade nickel sulphate product with low cobalt sulphate content.