Andrew Forrest, billionaire and owner of Wyloo Metals, is making a determined commitment to establish a strong presence in the nickel supply market. Wyloo Metals has recently finalized its acquisition of Mincor Resources for $760 million, solidifying its position as a key player in the industry.
Forrest envisions a surge in demand for nickel similar to what was observed in the lithium market. He aims to position Wyloo Metals as a major supplier to car manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seeking mineral supply for electric vehicle batteries.
Wyloo Metals is focused on nickel sulphide deposits, which are favored by battery manufacturers due to their environmental benefits. Forrest wants to avoid nickel laterite operations, which are supported by China in Indonesia, due to concerns over their environmental impact, particularly in tropical regions where tailings disposal ends up in the ocean.
By targeting nickel sulphides, Wyloo Metals aims to provide the market with a choice between “clean nickel” and “dirty nickel” to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of sustainable practices in the industry. Nickel sulphides offer superior economics, can be processed into battery-grade nickel with minimal environmental impact, and are fully recyclable.
The acquisition of Mincor Resources grants Wyloo Metals control over nickel-rich mines near Kambalda in Western Australia. This region has a history of significant nickel production, and Wyloo CEO Luca Giacovazzi believes there is still untapped potential for new discoveries of nickel sulphide resources.
In addition to mining, Wyloo Metals and its partner, critical minerals producer IGO, are considering the construction of a processing plant in Kwinana, south of Perth. This plant would produce a precursor material for battery cathodes by combining nickel, cobalt, and manganese. A final decision on the plant’s construction is expected before the end of 2024.
With its strategic acquisitions and focus on sustainable nickel production, Wyloo Metals aims to play a substantial role in the battery minerals market. As the industry increasingly shifts towards clean and responsibly sourced materials, there may be a growing demand for Wyloo’s products as a major nickel supplier to car and battery manufacturers.
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