This morning in metals news, August was a huge month for aluminum, zinc, and nickel; copper hit a three-year high on Thursday; and a South Korean company announced it will produce lithium-ion batteries with a greater percentage of nickel than before.
An Anything But Dreary Month
August is typically a quiet month for many, as people take vacations before the end of the summer.
In August, aluminum, zinc and nickel all posted significant price increases (10%, 12% and 15%, respectively).
Copper Hits Three-Year High
Copper kept rolling Thursday, hitting a peak not seen since 2014.
The metal thus closes a strong August — during which its price rose 7.5% — on a record note.
From Cobalt to Nickel
As automakers look to meet growing demand for electric vehicles, some battery makers are turning to more nickel and less cobalt in the construction of lithium-ion batteries.
For South Korean company SK Innovation, that means using more nickel. The company announced Thursday that it has begun commercial production of batteries using an increased portion of nickel (as opposed to the expensive, and scarce, cobalt).
“The batteries will help extend a driving range of electric vehicles up to 500 kms, and we will also develop new batteries by 2020 that can provide a range of more than 700 kms,” Lee Jon-ha, principal researcher of the company’s battery R&D center, said in a statement quoted by Reuters.