Several big-name miners are now chasing the electric vehicle battery boom including BHP Group, Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore. However, they are split on which metals will deliver the best long-term exposure.
Will it be nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, lithium, palladium or tungsten?
BHP is reviving its nickel entity in Western Australia, Rio Tinto is entering the lithium market, Anglo American is prospecting for platinum and palladium, whilst Glencore is looking at cobalt and copper. Others are looking towards tungsten.
Picking winners hasn’t been helped with the recent plunge of cobalt and lithium prices after surging on supply fears. Further, the diverse applications in the battery industry are complicated – metals used in one application may not be used in another.
Even as they warm to the battery theme, major mining companies aren’t yet prepared to move beyond familiar commodities and remain cautious on acquisitions, according to Robert Baylis, Managing Director at Roskill Information Services Ltd. “They don’t want to stray too far from the nest,’’ he said. “Some miners have instead concentrated on developing their own existing projects.’’