Demand for nickel in PH to spike due to growing demand for electric vehicles

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Jan) – The nickel industry in the Philippines can expect a brighter prospect for 2020 as the global demand is expected to increase for the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs).

Mining nickel ore in Surigao del Norte. MindaNews file photo by ROEL CATOTO

Cha Olea, Philippine Nickel Association (PNIA) executive director, said in an interview on Friday that the association has seen an increasing trend for electric vehicles worldwide, including the Philippines, leading to a possible industry boom as a result of a shift from fossil-run vehicles to more environment friendly electricity-run vehicles to curb carbon emission.

“The primary component of EV battery is nickel because of the batteries,” she said. Aside from nickel, Olea said the batteries also need cobalt and magnesium, but 50 percent of the batteries for EVs are made of nickel.

The executive added that manufacturing plants’ demand for stainless steel, which is also derived from nickel, would increase.

Members of the European Union targets to totally eradicate carbon emission by 2030, while the United States has been slowly replacing fossil-run vehicles with EVs, by offering incentives to owners of electric vehicles.

“Nickel has a very good prospect in the future, especially that Europe’s direction by 2030 is zero carbon emission. They are shifting to electric vehicles,” Olea said.

She said the Philippines is one of the biggest producers of nickel in the world, producing an estimated volume of 30 million metric tons last year. Of which, around 90% had been exported to China while the remaining 10% to Japan, Australia, and EU.

“Globally, they are looking for Philippines. Of course, we have to position ourselves strategically,” she said.

She noted that in the Philippines, some public utility vehicles had been replaced with e-tricycles and e-jeepneys.

Olea said at least 70% of the nickel ore extracted from the Philippines would be used for stainless steel, 3% for other components, 6% for batteries of EVs, 2% for castings, 6% for plating, 9% non-ferrous metals, and 4% for alloy steel.

She said the new opportunities in the global market would benefit the domestic nickel industry. According to her, the mining industry in the Philippines employs some 250,000 workers. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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