Just 18 months ago, the world’s biggest mining company was in a nickel frenzy. BHP Group, to much fanfare, had struck a deal with Tesla Inc. to supply it with the crucial ingredient for electric vehicles. It was about to go toe-to-toe with Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest for control of one of the globe’s most prospective mines.
For BHP, nickel offered a bright spot. Its management had earmarked the material as a key pillar of growth, a future-facing commodity that would help offset its exit from fossil fuels and let it tap into new demand driven by the world’s race to decarbonize.