Home » US and Philippines in Talks to Counter China’s Grip on Nickel Processing

US and Philippines in Talks to Counter China’s Grip on Nickel Processing

Southeast Asian Nation Seeks Partnership for Greener Future

by Victor Adetimilehin

The United States and the Philippines are discussing a potential partnership to challenge China’s dominance in nickel processing. Nickel is a critical mineral for electric vehicle batteries, and the US is aiming to lessen its reliance on China for this key material.

A Trilateral Approach to Nickel Processing

The proposed partnership would involve a three-way collaboration. The Philippines, boasting the world’s second-largest nickel reserves, would supply raw nickel. The US would contribute financial backing to the project. Finally, a third country with advanced processing technology, like Japan, South Korea, or Australia, would be brought in to refine the nickel.

The Philippines has expressed openness to partnering with countries committed to a sustainable energy future. The country’s Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, emphasized the importance of responsible mining practices and investments in domestic processing facilities.

Countering China’s Dominance

The discussions stem from growing concerns in Washington about China’s control over nickel processing, particularly in Indonesia, the top nickel producer. This dominance raises anxieties about supply chain reliability, especially as nickel demand is projected to surge in the coming years.

However, the US government views nickel as a crucial element in President Joe Biden’s ambitious plan to shift towards clean energy sources. Partnering with the Philippines for nickel processing aligns with this goal and reduces America’s dependence on China for this vital resource.

Nickel Market in Turmoil

The global nickel market is currently experiencing significant disruption due to a surge in Indonesian supply, largely fueled by Chinese investment and technological advancements. This has threatened the viability of many nickel mines worldwide, leading to closures and financial struggles.

Despite the global oversupply, the Philippines remains committed to expanding its nickel mining industry. With only a small portion of its vast nickel reserves currently being tapped, the country sees potential for future growth. However, a key focus is on encouraging investments in processing plants to produce higher-value nickel products domestically.

Source: Mining.com

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