MELBOURNE, Oct. 4 (Reuters) – BHP Group Ltd (BHP.AX) on Monday announced that it has agreed to supply nickel sulfate from Western Australia to a battery-manufacturing joint venture between Toyota Motor (7203.T) and Panasonic ( 6752.T), strengthening its presence in the rapidly growing electric vehicle sector.
The deal with Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, formed by Toyota and Panasonic in April 2020, would boost the supply of electric vehicle manufacturers who are increasingly turning to a sustainable, low-carbon supply of raw materials.
The world’s largest miner agreed in July to supply Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) with nickel and work with the company to reduce carbon emissions in the battery supply chain. Read more
BHP’s deal with Prime Planet and Toyota Tsusho, the metals trading arm of the automaker, pursues similar goals and also aims to increase transparency regarding raw material sourcing and human rights reporting. .
The parties will also explore the possibility of recycling the batteries at BHP’s Nickel West operations in Kwinana, near Perth, for further processing and production of nickel-containing products, they said in a joint statement.
“This partnership has great potential to secure competitive raw materials as well as to create recycling loops for battery materials, which is crucial for the future development of electric vehicles,” said Masaharu Katayama, COO of metals at Toyota Tsusho.
Last week, BHP commercially produced its first batch of nickel sulfate crystals at Nickel West in an effort to meet growing demand from electric vehicle manufacturers. Read more
The nickel division of the mine accounts for less than 1% of its revenues, which are dominated by iron ore.
Nickel makes batteries energy dense, allowing cars to run longer on a single charge. While the market is not expected to be lacking in the coming years due to new forms of supply from Indonesia, competition is increasing for the lower emitting types of nickel.
Nickel West’s carbon footprint is about half that of the most recent producers of Indonesia’s leading supplier who use energy-intensive technology to extract nickel from laterite ores, a consultant told Reuters. Read more
Reporting by Melanie Burton; Edited by Rashmi Aich and Ramakrishnan M.
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