Mumbai: Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta, one of the world’s largest natural resources conglomerates, has acquired Nicomet — a leading nickel and cobalt producer based out of Goa — thus becoming India’s sole producer of nickel.
Commenting on the deal, Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal said, “We are excited about Vedanta’s foray into nickel and cobalt production that will play a critical role in supporting the government’ mission for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Nickel and cobalt are metals of great strategic importance, especially for our transition towards clean energy and electric mobility.
Currently, India imports 100 per cent of its nickel requirements. Our focus will be to boost domestic production that would fuel India’s transition to a net zero economy.”
The move is a significant step in Vedanta’s mission towards making India self-reliant in key critical minerals. The acquisition of Nicomet is in line with Vedanta’s ESG mission and is a major step towards supporting the country’s carbon neutrality goals, said a company statement.
Nickel, a strategic mineral, is a vital input in manufacturing stainless steel and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). Similarly, cobalt is a crucial element for the lithium-ion battery for EVs, energy storage systems and has other uses like super alloy for steelmaking.
Both nickel and cobalt are regarded as the future minerals that will play a leading role in the transition to renewable and cleaner energy. Recently, the value of nickel and cobalt imports has been growing steadily.
With Vedanta’s foray into producing these critical minerals, India will be in a better position to manufacture EV batteries, and support the production of high-quality steel products, an essential building block for Infrastructure growth.
Certified with ISO 9001 for quality and with a strong R&D focus, Nicomet has emerged as a certified producer of high-quality battery-grade nickel sulphate crystals used for manufacturing batteries of electric vehicles globally.
India’s growing demand for nickel is currently pegged at 45 KTPA which is entirely met through imports. At present, Nicomet’s plant produces 7.5 KTPA nickel and cobalt. With an ambitious growth plan in place, Vedanta is well poised to meet 50 per cent of the country’s total nickel demand.
The acquistion of Nicomet is expected to strengthen iron and steel business portfolio of Vedanta. The acquisition comes when the nickel market is tightening with a surge in battery demand and an increase in global stainless-steel production in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue into 2022.
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