BHP To Boost Nickel Exploration As EVs To Send Nickel Demand Up 300%: Report

BHP Group Ltd BHP will boost nickel exploration expenditure over the next two years to meet the rising demand for the raw material used in electric vehicle batteries, Reuters said, citing BHP's chief of its nickel operations.

BHP, through its Nickel West unit, has nickel supply agreements with Tesla Inc TSLA and Toyota Motor Corp TM, and Ford Motor Co F.

BHP holds the second largest nickel sulphide resource base globally in the Agnew-Wiluna Belt in Western Australia.

It reportedly started two new mines recently and has the Leinster B-11 block cave, due to complete development in 2023.

Jessica Farrell, Asset President for BHP Nickel West, said the area has over 7.4 million tonnes of nickel that remains largely unexplored.

"We have budgeted a significant uplift in exploration spend over the next two years, which we expect will advance many of our targets," Farrell told an industry conference in Kalgoorlie, without detailing an investment number.

"This year will be the highest annual spend for exploration in Nickel West," Farrell said.

By 2030, around 60% of all car sales globally will be electric, increasing to 90% by 2040, Farrell added.

"This megatrend, combined with a firm demand base from the traditional stainless and class-1 applications, means we anticipate demand for nickel in the next 30 years will be 200% to 300% of demand in the previous 30 years," she said.

Price Action: BHP shares closed lower by 2.16% at $53.02 on Tuesday.

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