By Frik Els
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) faced with an 8-fold increase in lithium prices, convulsions on the nickel market and ever-present worries about cobalt supply from the Congo, are being forced to look downstream to secure supply for their ambitious expansion plans.
Andy Miller, chief operating officer of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, told an annual industry gathering in Los Angeles last week that soaring lithium prices and LME nickel market turmoil are signs of the huge momentum that is building in the battery supply chain.
“The events of the past 12 months are just the warning signs of what is to come across the raw material markets,” Miller said.
“All of this is being compounded by what is happening now at the policy level.
“It is no exaggeration to say that there is no bigger regulatory milestone for Western electric car markets than the Inflation Reduction Act, which has far-reaching consequences for all aspects of the energy transition.
“The impact goes well beyond US markets and will shape global trade as the EV supply chain is being built out,” he said.
Trading at a fraction of the prices of nickel, cobalt and high-purity manganese, anode material graphite is an often overlooked part of the EV supply chain.