The European Commission published its proposed EU battery regulation in December 2020. After almost two years of discussion, the EU institutions are now in the final stages of negotiating the details. It could be adopted in December 2022, with entry into force to follow in 2023.
Batteries, notably those used in electric vehicles, play an essential role in the plans of the European Commission to deliver the EU Green Deal. They are considered as a critical and strategic technology to achieve Europe´s ambitious climate change mitigation targets and to move towards green and sustainable mobility.
The proposed Regulation will introduce a wide range of sustainability requirements and promote the recycling of key battery raw materials like nickel. EU legislative work is entering a crucial phase.
The short answer is: yes, nickel can be a sustainable material throughout the entire value chain, from mining, manufacturing, to use and end of life – if all actors throughout the value chain step up and take their responsibility. Now let's look at the longer answer...
European nickel producers need a consistent regulatory framework. There must be coherence between different EU policy objectives with rules based on principles of sound science, risk-based approaches, full life-cycle thinking and impact assessments.
Most nickel production is destined for stainless steel. But a significant 8% is used in the production of alloy steels which are needed to deliver specific characteristics for specialised and often critical applications.