Sam Riggall: Industry-Wide Crisis Coming for Nickel and Cobalt
Tom welcomes Sam Riggall, CEO of Sunrise Energy Metals, to the show. Sam discusses his open letter to the automotive industry regarding metal supply concerns. The auto industry has not been overly concerned with the availability of metals. Lithium, cobalt, and copper are all essential metals that are necessary for battery-based systems.
Lithium gets a lot of attention, but most batteries today need considerable nickel and lessening quantities of lithium. Cobalt is also vital in stabilizing battery chemistries. Lithium is relatively easy to bring into production. The biggest bottlenecks will be with nickel and some concerns around cobalt.
He explains the differences between class one and class two nickel and the extraction processes involved. Class one nickel is generally required for battery manufacturing, with the latter used for stainless steel.
Today, one of the challenges is getting capital investment into the mining business for these new mines. So far, the space doesn’t attract much interest from investors.
Sunrise is building a very integrated project that is engaged with the automotive industry. They are developing methods to recycle old batteries and recover resources for the industry. However, recycling over the coming years will only make up 10-12% of the needed metal demand.
He explains the importance of scandium and its use in enhancing aluminum alloys. They have a project at Sunrise in Australia and are helping develop industrial applications with their industry partners.
The time has come for these technologies as we are on the verge of a technological revolution, and he feels they are well prepared for this future.
Time Stamp References:
0:00 – Introduction
0:33 – Industrial Gaps
4:02 – Nickel & Cobalt
8:19 – Nickel Grades
13:32 – Project Capital
17:32 – Nickels Prospects
19:33 – Strategic Importance?
23:00 – Sunrise Project
26:58 – Recycling Batteries
30:06 – Battery Lifecycles
31:52 – Scandium & Its Uses
36:34 – Clean TeQ’s Innovations
39:55 – Concluding Thoughts
Talking Points From This Episode
- Battery metals and supply concerns around nickel and cobalt.
- Slow uptake in interest and capital investment in these sectors.
- Strategic concerns and China’s advantage in processing.
- Recycling of existing lithium batteries and the uses for scandium.
Sam Riggall is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Energy Metals, formerly Clean TeQ. He was previously Executive Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning at Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. In that role, he was responsible for securing the agreement to develop the Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold mine in Mongolia and managing Ivanhoe’s other global business development opportunities. Before that, Sam was with the Rio Tinto Group for over a decade, covering project generation and evaluation, business development, and capital market transactions.
Sam is a graduate of law and economics from Melbourne University and has an MBA from Melbourne Business School.