Canadian Mining Journal


Carbon footprint of nickel sulphate transport may start to worry OEMs – report

Market analyst Roskill issued a report, where its experts say that they expect concerns over carbon emissions from the transport of nickel sulphate feedstocks such as mixed hydroxide product (MHP) to grow over the coming years.

According to Roskill, increased worry from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) over the carbon footprint of transporting these materials is going to be the result of the rising supply of MHP aimed at responding to the demand for battery metal commodities.

“Given the expected increase in production of nickel sulphate products, spurred on by lithium-ion batter demand, scrutiny of this supply chain is inevitable, as downstream OEMs look to exert more control and demand greater transparency of potential ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues within their supply chains,” the document reads.

The report explains that emissions from shipping can constitute a significant percentage of a commodity’s total carbon dioxide emissions. This is due to the nature of shipping, transporting large volumes of material over significant distances worldwide and the less stringent nature of regulation over engine fuel use.

Within the nickel sulphate feedstock supply chains, Roskill’s analyses have determined that MHP contributes the greatest quantity of carbon dioxide emissions, approximately 16,000 tonnes in 2020.

“The reasons for this are simple: MHP constitutes approximately a quarter of total feedstock demand (on a contained nickel in nickel sulphide feedstock basis) for nickel sulphate refining and additionally, has a moisture content significantly higher than other feedstocks, increasing the volume of material required to be shipped and therefore, carbon emissions,” the report states.

Given that Roskill forecasts that the supply of MHP will increase over the next decade, with several high-pressure acid leach projects in Indonesia planned to come online, OEMs are also expected to be paying more attention to the environmental implications of moving the products across the world.

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