The nickel industry and supply chain is not structured to cater to the specific needs of EV battery manufacturers, delegates heard at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Mainz, Germany, this week.
The nickel market is more or less in balance in terms of overall supply and demand. But reserves and production are not geared toward the EV market, and instead favor the traditional stainless steel applications, Oxley said.
Class one nickel - in the form of nickel powders, briquettes and metal - is required by EV battery producers. It can be fed by nickel matte and intermediates, produced from laterite and sulphide deposits.
Class two nickel - in the form of ferro-nickel and nickel pig iron - fed by laterite supply, is only suitable for use in the stainless steel industry.