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World's top miner embracing the boom in electric car batteries

BHP Billiton Ltd. is boosting sales of the top-quality nickel that is needed for electric vehicle batteries, another sign the world's biggest miner is targeting more opportunities in the booming sector

Photo: Renault PRESSE

Sales of refined nickel, a category that includes the premium products used for battery production, jumped 18 percent in the three months to Sept. 30 from a year earlier, according to a statement Wednesday. The company has begun offering more detailed data on nickel and cobalt production amid investor interest in its exposure to the rise of EVs.

BHP's Nickel West operation in Western Australia is aiming to sell 90 percent of output to the battery sector by the end of next year, switching away from a traditional customer base in the stainless steel market. Laboratory tests are also developing methods to produce cobalt sulphate, another key material for rechargeable batteries.

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