I was wondering if you had managed to listen to the presentation given by Ken Hoffman.
I’m interested in what he has to say given my investment in Amur and the likely impact new developments in the battery market might have on nickel. I’m pretty sure Hoffman doesn’t know half of what’s currently going on given the vast amounts of money to be made by whoever comes up with the next big break though, secrecy being the order of the day. Nevertheless he made some interesting if somewhat contradictory comments.
The issue, for me, is the potential for nickel to be either thrifted out of or removed from batteries altogether. Amur’s current time line appears to be the following:-
TEO/DFS – End of 2020
Assuming finance is agreed shortly after.
320km long road to take two years to build – End of 2022
Minehead construction commences spring 2023.
Minehead construction to take 2 years – 2024
Stripping of overburden commence spring 2025
First ore reached end of 2025. Commercial quantities of concentrate shipped 2026
Loan pay back will take 2 years. The mine will only start to make a profit from 2028.
Hoffman’s presentation shows 15mins. 20secs. a slide showing advanced cathode after 2030. It’s not clear what the composition would be but it doesn’t look like it contains any nickel. Hoffman does claim 12 minutes 50 seconds that “battery development is so fast at this point in time” and 23mins. 58secs. “The pushing up the curve of battery technology is going to be very fast and very furious……”
The comment he makes that really sums things up though is this one 26mins 5secs. “Once you start to see really advance batteries with over 1,000Wh/kg that’s when you start to change the system……” and slightly further on “that’s why everyone is trying to rush here and that’s why it’s going to be a massive business……” although he does make a couple of inaccurate claims, this one in particular 27mins. 55 secs. he claims 3m EVs would be sold in 2019. That’s wrong by about 1m. The total is likely to be just over 2m and that’s EVs and PHEVs combined.
What do you think the time line is for nickel to be replaced in battery cathodes? I’ve seen a couple of articles on various alternative chemistries but I’m not aware of anything that’s being road tested at the moment. Given the amounts of money involved here (over 90m new cars are sold worldwide each year, the average price being between $30k and $35k. That’s a $3Trillion market) it seems to me to be not unreasonable to assume that alternative chemistries are being developed in secret. Nevertheless are you aware of anything that might compete with and ultimately replace nickel? If so what’s the chemistry.
I know as much as you know, they are well kept secrets.
The only thing I know is that a new technology takes about 10 to 15 years to put on the market, you have a good example in the technological evolution of lithium batteries.
Meanwhile Nickel’s main consumer is stainless steel and I don’t see that change anytime soon, with EV sales disappointing, I would be more afraid of mass-fuel cell manufacturing and cost savings, but ‘there’s not enough raw materials for a world full of EVs or full of fuel cells, the two technologies will coexist’.Jim Lennon
New tech and chemistry it will happen.
For hydrogen, you have 3 types: grey, blue and green, grey is fossil origin, like blue but uses CCSs, green is the big financial challenge for carbon neutral.
Still for fuel cells, they are reducing the amount of platinum needed, and there are studies with a performance-enhancing Nickel and Platinum alloy that will once again have to be tried and tested.
This suggests that it would take significant time before there is significant nickel demand to come from the EV battery sector.
Additionally, market research and consultancy firm Beijing Antaike Information expects Chinese stainless steel output growth to slow to just 3.4 per cent in 2020, down from a 9.4 per cent year on year growth in 2019.
There are also concerns that Chinese stainless steel production could even decline given that it has been operating at a loss since November 2019.
Argonaut mining and energy research director Matthew Keane provided further support for nickel having a lacklustre year, telling the New World Metals Conference in December that a price recovery would be “a bit more prolonged”.
I’m sorry for my english
Your written English is fine. In fact it’s an awful lot better than many native English speakers can muster.
December China stainless steel production rose 9% from year ago
SHANGHAI, Jan 8 (SMM) – China produced 2.4 million mt of stainless steel in December, down 1.65% from a month ago but up 9.05% from a year ago, showed SMM data.
Last month, production of 200-series in China dipped 0.54% to 807,600 mt, as a mill in the south was on maintenance.
Output of 300-series declined 4.25% to 1.12 million mt, as annual overhaul at Zhangjiagang Pohang and Delong in east China continued through to early December.
Production of 400-series rose 2.94% to 479,400 mt in December, as eastern mills recovered from environmental restrictions and as some shifted from 300-series to 400-series.
China’s production of stainless steel is expected to drop 13.51% to 2.08 million mt in January, to see a year-over-year increase of 4.26%.
This month, production of 200-series is likely to decrease 20.59% to 641,300 mt, and that of 300-series will shrink 12.71% to 974,100 mt as there are mills in the south to undertake annual maintenance. Output of 400-series is estimated to reduce 3.43% to 462,900 m
Thanks for posting that, it was very informative.
To get an idea of the potential of Hydrogen and its current limitations