As delegates to the UN COP26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow grapple with finding solutions to the climate crisis, clean energy solutions will be in focus. Although clean energy technologies rely on metals and minerals that are unavoidably energy intensive to produce, the IEA says that the climate advantages of these technologies remain clear.
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.
Should we be worried about there being enough nickel to supply the transition to electric vehicles and cleaner energy sources? Given its wide range of uses in important existing and emerging technologies, this is a frequently asked question.