Nickel | BHP
nickel, mining, production

Nickel

Nickel is a naturally occurring metallic element that’s a key ingredient in stainless steel and major component in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.

What is nickel?

 

Nickel is a silvery white, naturally occurring metallic element with a light golden tinge. There are two main types of nickel deposits - laterite and sulphide – each requiring a different extraction technique.

How is nickel used?

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Food and health

Stainless steel produced from nickel is used in home appliances, kitchen materials and medical instruments.

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Industry

Nickel is used in process plants, oil and gas, power generation and chemical production.

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Architecture

Nickel has structural applications and can reinforce concrete.

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Transport

In almost every form of transportation, including cars, trains and the aerospace industry, nickel is a key ingredient.

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Electronics

You’ll find nickel in everyday electronics including mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras.

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Energy storage

Nickel is a key component of Lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems used for renewable energy sources.

Nickel and electric cars

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Batteries

Nickel makes a vital contribution to the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.

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The key ingredient

A 60kwh NMC811 battery needs 5kg of cobalt, 5kg of manganese, 6kg of lithium and 39kg of nickel.

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Longevity

When the battery has more nickel, the vehicle can drive for longer.

Where is nickel found?

 

Nickel sulphide deposits can be found all over the world including Western Australia, South Africa, Canada and Russia. Nickel laterite deposits can be found in countries such as Australia, Indonesia, New Caledonia and the Philippines.
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Nickel West, Western Australia

A fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business.

All nickel operations (open-cut and underground mines, concentrators, a smelter and refinery) of Nickel West are located in Western Australia. The integrated business adds value throughout our nickel supply chain, with the majority of Nickel West’s current production sold as powder. Nickel West employs over 3,500 employees and contractors.

How do we produce nickel?

 

Nickel sulphide ore is mined at our open-cut and underground operations in the Northern Goldfields in Western Australia before it is crushed and concentrated at two large nickel concentrators using nickel sulphide flotation technology. The nickel concentrate is then dried and railed to the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter where it’s continuously fed to a flash furnace. The furnace process produces a granulated matte product containing approximately 68% nickel. It’s then railed to Kwinana Nickel Refinery where it is converted to nickel metal in the form of powder and briquettes, at 99.8% nickel grade. Nickel matte and metal are exported to overseas markets via the Port of Fremantle.

What is the future for nickel?

The demand for high quality nickel sulphate will surge as the trend towards electric vehicles increases – a key component used in its batteries.
$50mWe are investing $50 million in nickel exploration activities in WA.
85%We sell more than 85% of our nickel to the electric vehicle battery industry.
314mBy 2035, we expect there’ll be 314 million electric vehicles on the road.