Global nickel demand is expected to rise by 2.6 million tonnes in 2040, with Australia’s greenfield and brownfield projects to play a significant role in future demand, according to a Roskill report.
The report stated that electronic vehicle demand was the “single largest growth sector” for nickel in the next 20 years.
Greenfield and brownfield nickel projects that are in development are also expected to contribute to new mined supply of the commodity.
According Roskill, Australia will contribute to more than 25 per cent of new mined supply by 2030.
China is expected to remain the largest producer nickel sulphate, which is used in electronic vehicle batteries.
However, Australia is expected to overtake Japan and Taiwan as the second largest nickel sulphate producer in the near-term.
Recycled feedstock is expected to be increasingly used in nickel sulphate production, which could see Japan return to second place by 2040.
“Japan could return to being the second largest nickel sulphate producer by 2040 as a result of recycled feedstock availability by such time,” the report stated.
The most significant “bottleneck” to nickel sulphite supply is the availability of suitable feedstock, Roskill found.
The report stated that production of refined materials from nickel would outweigh mine production in the coming years.
Roskill has suggested further growth in recycling batteries to produce nickel sulphate would prevent a deficit in the nickel market.
“Should a sizeable EOL (end of life) recycling industry not be established, we expect a supply deficit to form in 2027 and then remain over the rest of the outlook period,” Roskill stated.
According to the report, global nickel demand reached 92,000 tonnes in 2020.