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Gold/Mining/Energy : Sudbury Saturday Night -- Nickel Mining & Nickel Prices -- Ignore unavailable to you. Want to Upgrade?

To: LoneClone who wrote (7790)8/26/2021 12:40:04 PM
From: LoneClone  Read Replies (1) | Respond to of 8380
Nickel: Stainless steel feedstocks facing rising ESG scrutiny

Posted 24th August 2021 in ?Industry news.
By Jack Anderson

Despite the publicity surrounding the rising nickel use in Li-ion batteries, the stainless steel sector still accounts for 70% of primary nickel consumption. Given that consumers of electric vehicles and other clean energy technologies are for the most part inherently conscious of the environmental impact of their purchase, many producers and prospective producers of nickel, destined for these markets, are aiming to improve their carbon footprints. Following Tsingshan’s announcement that it will convert the traditional stainless steel feedstock NPI to nickel matte for nickel sulphate production used in Li-ion batteries, this exposure to the battery sector has now led to producers of Class II (FeNi and NPI) nickel being judged on their emissions. Attention is now turning to the stainless steel sector amid the rising narrative surrounding ‘green steel’ and decarbonisation of the steel industry.

Roskill View

CO2 analysis has become an important tool for determining the true environmental impact of a given supply chain or production route. In order to calculate the CO2 emissions from NPI and FeNi production, there are several important aspects to consider:

  • Emissions from transporting laterite ore feedstocks
  • Power/electricity consumption for powering on-site processing and refining activities
  • Fuel and reagents consumed within processing and refining activities
For FeNi and NPI producers that do not have access to integrated nickel ore supply, this has a significant impact on the CO2intensity of the end product. Roskill estimates that non-integrated FeNi/NPI is 24%-34% more carbon-intensive than integrated FeNi/NPI supply. This is because a large proportion of the CO2 emissions involved in ferroalloys production comes from the shipping of laterite ores. As a result, China, South Korea and Japan demonstrate the highest emitting supply routes. For Chinese production of NPI, producers are reliant on imported laterite ores from the Philippines, New Caledonia and, prior to the reimplementation of the nickel ore export ban, historically also a considerable proportion from Indonesia. Japanese and South Korean FeNi producers are reliant on imports of ores from the Philippines and New Caledonia. The other major FeNi and NPI producers Indonesia, Brazil and New Caledonia do not have the same associated transport emissions as these production centres have access to domestic feedstocks, negating the need for CO2 heavy ore imports.

Due to the similar rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) processes used in both Chinese and Indonesian markets and the fact that in both cases, coal provides the vast majority of power for production, the CO2 intensity of the NPI refining process in both countries is approximately the same. However, removing the requirement to ship nickel laterite ore to Chinese refineries means that NPI produced domestically within Indonesia carries a CO2 intensity approximately 30% lower than refining in China.

The majority of FeNi and NPI produced globally uses captive power storage, predominantly coal power, tied to refining facilities. Coal is a cost-effective and easily available fuel in areas in which refining takes place. This set up exists at Tsingshan’s Indonesian Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) which contains captive coal power stations to power the refining facilities. In addition to power generation, the RKEF process requires coal to be used as a reducing agent within the furnace. Because not all CO2 emissions within the supply chain are produced from energy production, even if producers were to switch to more CO2 efficient fuels, coal would still likely remain the reducing agent of choice for use in the RKEF process.

While the main focus for sustainability within the nickel industry generally concerns material destined for the battery sector, investors are now beginning to look at the ESG credentials for the stainless steel feedstocks ferronickel (FeNi) and nickel pig iron (NPI) with much greater weight when deciding whether to finance a project or participate in a producing asset.

Roskill published its Nickel: Outlook to 2030 and Nickel Sulphate: Outlook to 2030 reports in April. The reports highlight the latest developments to supply and demand as well as forecasts for stainless steel and battery markets. Roskill’s array of Nickel offerings also include Roskill’s Nickel Sulphate Cost Model Service and Nickel Sulphate Sustainability Monitor.

Contact the author This article was written by Jack Anderson. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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