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  • Writer's pictureDavid Kraft

Seeking Innovations for Nickel Laterite Mining

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

World nickel production is increasing exponentially, exceeding 2M metric tons in 2010. Nickel (Ni) has historically been used to make stainless steel as well as high-nickel alloys for high temperature, corrosive environments, and superalloys for turbines and power generation. A growing share of nickel is being used to produce batteries for the electric vehicle (EV) market. The current use of nickel in batteries is estimated at between 3 and 4% of global nickel consumption (Henckens, 2020); this amount is expected to increase with continued vehicle electrification.

In 2016, only 39% of Li-ion batteries contained nickel; by 2025, the percent share of EV batteries containing nickel is expected to rise to 58% (Henckens, 2020). This has given rise to a gap between supply and demand for nickel sulphate, the intermediate used to make Li-ion batteries.

Most of the world’s nickel reserves are contained in laterite ores. Ni laterite ores have low nickel content (1-2%) and complex mineralogy which impacts their ability to be processed economically.

Areas for Innovation

Rhizome Network is seeking innovations that will lead to improved processing techniques, resulting in higher concentrations of Nickel and lower carbon emissions, for nickel laterite ore.

The following are technical areas that would benefit from new concepts:

I. Pre-Concentration / Improved Beneficiation of Ni Laterite Ores

II. Methods for Pre-Treating Nickel Laterite Ores

III. Better Methods for Processing


Innovators are eligible to earn a $10,000 AUD payment for each selected solution to this challenge. Two selection awards will be made.

How to participate

Join Rhizome Network by applying directly to this challenge. If you are selected to participate, our team will send you confidential materials about the challenge.

Rhizome Network Members also receive exclusive invitations to join innovation projects.

Project Sponsor

This innovation challenge is sponsored by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). CSIRO is Australia's leading science and research organisation, which solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. The project is part of CSIRO's Critical Energy Metals mission.

Contact Us

Need more information, or do you have a few questions? Contact us, or drop us an email at


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