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Developing the next major nickel project in Brazil


Battery Technology

The emergence of electric vehicles (EVs) is set to revolutionise the world of transportation and coincidentally, transform the nickel market. The EV market is growing rapidly. EV sales jumped from 450,000 in 2015 to 2.1M in 2020 and is forecast to increase to 54M by 2040. EV share of total vehicle sales is still small but rising fast. By 2040, over half of all passenger vehicles sold will be electric.

In 2020, Europe overtook China as the largest EV market for the first time ever. This was driven by European governments increasing EV subsidies and investment in EV infrastructure.

EV pioneer, Tesla is working to increase this penetration at a faster rate by producing cheaper and more energy efficient models. Tesla’s new battery technology is enabled by nickel. Nickel is the cheapest battery metal with the highest energy density.

The advancements in battery technology is moving towards an 80% nickel battery cell. This will result in the share of global nickel demand taken by EVs increasing from 4% in 2018 to 31% in 2040.

Supply of raw materials is the biggest constraint on the market. Increasing activity in OEM offtake agreements with miners to help them get financed, expected. Tesla’s ambitions of 3 terawatt hours of capacity by 2030 would soak up 2Mt of nickel.

According to Bloomberg, EV battery and carmakers, such as Tesla, are concerned about the nickel supply chain. The demand for high purity nickel is due to outstrip supply within the next five years. Horizonte believes this surge in demand for Class 1 nickel could lead to significant price rises in the nickel commodity over the next 5-10 years.

Horizonte’s Vermelho nickel cobalt project is being developed to feed into the EV battery market. One of the largest nickel resources of its kind, Horizonte acquired the Vermelho project from Vale in 2017. Horizonte’s own test-work undertaken on Vermelho confirmed the resources suitability to produce an end-product suitable for EV battery producers.

Reuters Beijing

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