NICKEL AND THE ENERGY TRANSITION; CURRENT NICKEL RESOURCES, RESERVES, SUPPLY AND DEMAND AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE NICKEL SECTOR
January 19, 2024
Presented by: MMSA QP ENHANCEMENT COMMITTEE
The MMSA QP Enhancement Committee offers a series of webinars about a wide range of topics designed for the professionals working for mining companies and those involved in the preparation of studies and disclosure documents. The Webinars are also of interest to the legal, financial, management and academic sectors of the industry. The Webinars qualify for Continuing Professional Development credits for MMSA QPs.
How much nickel is consumed today? Where is it used and where does it come from? Looking ahead, what are the expected future uses of nickel and is there enough supply to meet demand?
The importance of Nickel to modern life and society and is crucial for the production of stainless steel, specialty alloys, electroplating, battery production, and other uses. The importance of nickel to modern standards of living is demonstrated by the fact that per capita consumption of nickel was 8.8 times higher in 2018 than was the case in 1956 and is higher now; in other words, every human on Earth uses ~10 times more nickel in 2023 than they did ~60 years ago. This increase is larger than the case for other infrastructure metals like copper, indicating the continuing and increasing importance of nickel for modern standards of living and the energy transition. Global nickel demand is also accelerating beyond these underlying trends as the world transitions to a low- to zero-CO2 and carbon neutral energy and transport future that necessarily involves the greater use of batteries for energy storage associated with renewable energy systems. This means that understanding the current nickel market and current and likely future sources of this metal are key to enabling the energy transition and associated climate change mitigation. This presentation will provide an overview of current and likely sources of nickel, present reserves and resources, likely changes in supply and demand, and energy transition-related challenges and opportunities for the nickel sector.
Bio: Simon Jowitt is currently the tenured Director of the Ralph J. Roberts Center for Research in Economic Geology and the Arthur Brant Chair of Exploration Geology at the University of Nevada Reno, Nevada, USA. He has a BSc (Hons) degree in Geology from the University of Edinburgh, an MSc in Mining Geology from the Camborne School of Mines, and a PhD from the University of Leicester, all in the UK. Simon spent eight years at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia before moving to spend seven years as an Assistant and then tenured Associate Professor of Economic Geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His research focuses on the use of geochemistry to unravel geological processes in a variety of settings with direct application to understanding not only mineralizing systems but also igneous petrology, mineral exploration, global tectonics and the links between magmatism and metallogeny. He has also undertaken extensive research on mineral economics, global metal resources and the security of supply of the critical elements, and the “economic” side of economic geology, as demonstrated by a number of recent publications on global base, precious, and critical metal and mineral resources and the impact of the energy transition and COVID-19 on the global minerals industry. Simon also studies the environmental impact of mining and the potential uses of mining and other wastes for metal production and CO2 sequestration. He has published more than 110 scientific papers and peer-reviewed book chapters since 2010, is currently the Vice-President for Student Affairs for the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and was awarded the SEG’s Waldemar Lindgren Award in 2014. Slides
Chat Questions and Comments
The following questions and comments were entered in the Chat and were answered by Dr. Jowitt during the Webinar.
Marco Carrasco: How about US nickel mines? Are there unexplored areas? Is there any regulation that affects the development of those mines in the USA? Environmental, social or any other aspect. Is there any classification of Measured, Indicated, Inferred Resources? Considering the demand for nickel, is there an alternative nickel substitute, a heat-resistant alloy based on iron, chromium, and aluminum?
Alister Horn: How sensitive is the projected growth in Ni to battery technologies? Is Ni required in cathodes anodes regardless?
Art Ibrado: Excellent presentation. Thanks!
Ruth Carraher: Thank you very much for the presentation!
Marco Carrasco: Excellent presentation and information, Thanks!!
Tetiana Semeniutina: Very informative presentation. Thank you!
Debbie Struhsacker: Have you evaluated the comparative environmental footprints and energy consumption between sulfide and laterite deposits? Interesting juxtaposition of the Twin Metals and the Tamarack deposits. The key difference between the two is land status. Tim Metals is on National Forest System Land (the Superior National Forests, which is why the Biden Administration was able to withdraw the leases. I believe the Tamarack deposit is on private and/or state lands.
Darby Stacey: Tamarack is in the Mississippi watershed as well vs. Great Lakes.
Rodrigo R Carneiro: I’m working in preferability study for a N-Co Laterite Project in the Santa Cruz, Philippine.
The mining company has received a grant from the USDTA which indicates that the US Government is supporting the development of Ni-Co project outside of the US territory.
Debbie Struhsacker: Could the Women’s Mining Coalition use your cellphone graphic for our next Washington, DC fly-in?
Azita Yazdani: Excellent presentation. Thank you!
Alister Horn: This was great, very illuminating. Many thanks Simon!
Karen Jass: Thank you.
Darby Stacey: Please send me a copy of the energy consumption sulfide vs. laterite paper as well, much appreciated
Rodrigo R Carneiro: I would like to receive the sources of the graphs included in your presentation
Roger Nendick: A very good presentation, thank you. I would like to get a copy of the presentation please. Thanks.
Bruce Geller: Simon has offered a copy of this PowerPoint presentation that would be nice to obtain a copy of. This was not only informative, but well organized and succinct. I really want to thank him.
Debbie Struhsacker: But it’s worse in MN because these were discretionary leases — not mining claims like