Why is deep-sea becoming critical for production of nickel and batteries?

Deep-sea mining may provide supply for the soaring demand for nickel, the key resource for battery production.

Deap-sea mining machine

Rich countries are pushing for electrification and renewable energy to combat climate change, leading to a surge in battery demand. Nickel, a key component in high-quality electric car batteries, is in short supply.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the world will need to produce 6.3 million tonnes of nickel annually by 2040, double the amount produced in 2022. Most of the recent growth in nickel demand has been met by Indonesia, which has been clearing rainforests to access the ore.

However, the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a patch of Pacific Ocean seabed, contains trillions of nickel-rich nodules that could be mined.

The Metals Company (TMC) and other companies are interested in mining the CCZ, which could potentially reduce the need for land-based mining and protect Indonesian rainforests. While deep-sea mining has environmental impacts, it may have a smaller footprint than land-based mining.