European nickel firm eyes Texas for $400 million EV battery-metal plant

A Luxembourg-based firm that’s harnessing microwave technology to recover metals is looking to build a $440 million refinery in Texas to help quench demand for a key ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries.

Wave Nickel seeks to tap US government incentives including those from President Joe Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act to build a refinery that’ll produce nickel sulfate for EV batteries, CEO Gustavo Emina said in an interview.

“It has become a matter of national security for the U.S. to guarantee the supply of strategic minerals, which has caught our attention,” Emina said. “There is a lot of money and very few projects.”

Wave Nickel, which also owns a nickel mine in Brazil, expects the U.S. plant to take about four years to develop. The refinery will get its raw material from a yet-to-be-built Brazilian plant that uses microwaves to produce mixed hydroxide precipitate, a feedstock used to make nickel sulfate. The firm expects to produce 40,000 tons of precipitate by 2028, enough to make 20,000 tons of nickel, the CEO said.

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