EV Metal Index rockets to record high on cobalt, nickel price, use

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The MINING.COM EV Metal Index, which tracks the value of battery metals in newly registered passenger EVs (including hybrids) around the world surged to an all-time high in September, rebounding from two-year lows struck at the height of the pandemic in April.

There was a massive sequential jump in battery raw material deployed in September, according to data from Adamas Intelligence, which tracks demand for EV batteries by chemistry, cell supplier and capacity in over 90 countries.   

According to the Toronto-based researcher, during the month lithium used in newly-sold EVs nearly doubled from September 2019, at just over 9,500 tonnes. Deployment of cathode materials nickel and cobalt boomed by 88% and 67% year over year, while 96% more graphite was deployed in anodes compared to the same month in 2019. 

All materials tracked by the index set new monthly records, with cobalt topping 2,000 tonnes and nickel 9,000 tonnes in one month for the first time. 

Usage of battery metals was not only boosted by the overall increase in EV sales during the month, but also the relative outperformance of full electric cars, which saw the total battery capacity of EVs sold increase 86% to over 15,000 MWh, according to the Adamas battery capacity tracker.

That, combined with a sharp year-to-date rally in cobalt and a recovery in the price of nickel used in battery supply chains lifted the value of the MINING.COM EV Metal index to $315 million for the month, beating the previous record set in December last year by nearly $70 million.

At $1.52 billion year-to-date, the index has now wiped its deficit compared to the same period last year and barring unexpected subsidy changes in China or strict lockdowns in Europe, 2020 should be another record year for the nascent industry.

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