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BHP Nickel West previously partnered with Toyota in January, 2021. Image: BHP.

BHP has created the Green Electric Vehicle (EV) Ecosystem with two major Japanese businesses to supply nickel sulphate for EV batteries from BHP Nickel West in Western Australia.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BHP, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES) and Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) will see PPES turn the nickel sulphate into lower carbon batteries for EV manufacturers like Toyota.

PPES is a leading Japanese lithium-ion battery manufacturer and will also explore the recycling of battery scrap and used batteries at Nickel West for further processing to reduce waste.

BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said these were important relationships to foster moving forward.

“Creating a Green EV Ecosystem is something that could make a real difference for the battery supply chain,” Pant said.

“Together with PPES and TTC, we are taking the next step in creating a more sustainable, transparent industry and one that is working collectively to lift standards and reduce emissions.”

To enhance its downstream sustainability, Nickel West will also work with Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) on their own EV supply after successful trials in late 2020.

BHP Nickel West asset president Jessica Farrell said this partnership came in response to extreme demand forecast for nickel in the near future.

“Demand for nickel in batteries is estimated to grow by over 500 per cent over the next decade to support increasing demand for electric vehicles,” Farrell said.

“We have invested in our Nickel West facilities and power agreements so that we can now deliver some of the world’s most sustainable and lowest carbon emission nickel to customers.”

PPES president and chief executive officer Hiroaki Koda said he was optimistic for what the partnership could afford for all parties involved.

“I am delighted that we share the same values and have taken initiatives as “One Team” towards realising a carbon-free green society,” Koda said.

“We will work towards optimising the overlapping value chains to be more competitive and to continuously improve efficiency in our related operations.

“Our partnership is quite unique and advanced, as we could achieve both competitiveness and green business while securing a win-win relationship.”

In January, BHP partnered with Toyota to trial light electric vehicles (LEV) at Nickel West which saw a LandCruiser 70 converted from running on diesel to fully electric via onboard battery power.

Toyota and BHP have maintained a strong relationship for the past 20 years.