IGO’s strategy is focused on metals critical to clean energy, including nickel, copper and cobalt, which are used in the manufacture of high energy density lithium-ion batteries.
Nickel sulphate is critically important in certain electric vehicle battery cathodes, particularly for battery technologies using nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA). NCM and NCA technologies are becoming increasingly popular given their high energy density which, in electric vehicle applications, results in longer driving range. There is an increasing trend towards higher nickel volumes in these battery types, driven by the improved energy density properties that can be achieved.
IGO developed a new patented process (the IGO Process) that can produce a high-quality nickel sulphate from nickel sulphide concentrate. Testwork and studies using the IGO Process support:
- Extremely high metal recoveries
- Low costs for the integrated production of nickel sulphate
- A more environmentally sustainable process compared to the traditional production methods for nickel sulphate, due to significantly lower emissions, power consumption and waste generation
- Ability to produce high-quality nickel sulphate for use in batteries
However, in November 2019, the Company announced that it would not progress to a detailed feasibility study on the IGO downstream nickel sulphate facility following the conclusion of renewed offtake agreements at materially improved commercial terms.
IGO continues to explore value creation from downstream processing aligned to clean energy through potential partnerships and collaborative industry opportunities leveraging off the technology developed by IGO.