Increasing sales of EVs since 2012, in response to global subsidies for the production of EVs with a longer driving range, has resulted in accelerated nickel-containing battery output.
“While nickel prices have been low in the past several years, it has been a fantastic time for end users and the growing use of nickel,” nickel analyst Barry Jackson of Anglo American said.
The three-month nickel price on the London Metals Exchange stood at $12,360-12,400 per tonne on Friday, vastly down from the all-time peak at $48,695-48,700 per tonne on April 2007, but up year on year from $11,640-11,650 per tonne.
There has been substantial growth in new nickel applications, such as EV, and existing nickel application in stainless steel, with the share of nickel contained in stainless steel and usage of nickel in batteries rising since 2007.
“The two very positive trends for nickel consumption in batteries will be the growing share of Ni-containing lithium-ion batteries and growing share of nickel in the batteries,” Jackson added.
Batteries for stationary storage is a growing area for nickel consumption. Meanwhile, home energy storage holds another potential end use for nickel.
Other speakers at the seminar also pointed to urbanization and modernization in infrastructure as positive growth markets for nickel use.
“With the urbanization in China and other countries, water distribution infrastructure will embrace a booming era, and that also means more nickel usage,” Philip Song, chief representative manager in China of the Nickel Institute, said at the conference.