February 11, 2015
As February marks National American Heart Month, we’d lik...
Known for its use in the five-cent coin, nickel is one of the most versatile metals found on earth and is one of many resources that makes modern technology possible. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that nickel is primarily used for alloys and electroplating but is also used in numerous other applications. More recently, nickel is known for its role as an important metal in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The Nickel Institute says that nickel is highly ductile, corrosion and oxidation resistant and 100 percent recyclable. These characteristics make it essential for building infrastructure, chemical production, communications, energy supply, environmental protection and food preparation.
Rarely used in its purest form, nickel is combined with other metals to produce alloys with a combination of properties that provide both ductility and strength at high temperatures. Through its ability to withstand high heat, nickel minimizes corrosion, allowing the metal to be used for several decades without replacement. Thus, nickel is used in harsh environments such as jet engines, offshore installations and power generation facilities.
Nickel is one of the most important metal alloys in the U.S. stainless steel industry and demand is forecasted to increase. It is also critical for the transition to more advanced energy because of its ability to deliver high energy density and greater storage capacity at a lower cost than other metals. This makes it an imperative resource for the development of cleaner technologies such as EV batteries, wind and solar power.
According to the International Energy Agency, nickel demand is expected to increase 40 times by 2040 to meet the need for energy storage and EV market growth. Despite an ample supply, in 2021, the U.S. had a 48 percent net import reliance for nickel.
To meet the increasing need for nickel, changes must be made to the U.S. mine permitting process. Congress must reform the lengthy and duplicative permitting process to ensure U.S. mining can help deliver the minerals we need. Talon Metals’ Tamarack Nickel Project is among a list of proposed mines that would support American operations instead of relying on imports.