Nickel is a major component of the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries used in the manufacture of electric vehicles. But production is heavily concentrated in Asia, with Indonesia responsible for around 33% of the world’s metal supply, followed by the Philippines with 12% and Russia with 11%. In terms of processing, China takes the lion’s share, as the country refines around 35% of the nickel produced in the world.
Given this state of affairs, finding untapped sources of battery metals elsewhere and innovative and more environmentally friendly ways to process them has become an important quest for countries and companies taking steps towards a brighter future. green.
With this in mind, the Leicester and UWA teams have already examined the processes involved in the sources and transport mechanisms of metals through the lithosphere in magmatic systems.
This ongoing research will now be coupled with new advances in experimental petrology and tectonic modeling to highlight ‘hot spots’ in the crust that have undergone a series of favorable processes over geologic time.
The underlying research is expected to challenge scientists’ current understanding of the nickel mineral system, potentially opening up new exploration research space for nickel across the globe.
“We are delighted to have accepted this partnership with BHP. It is particularly exciting to have the opportunity to apply some of our recent and ongoing research on nickel-copper-platinum group metal deposits directly to targeting exploration,” said lead researcher David Holwell in A press release. “We have a truly international and diverse team with complementary expertise.”