Benchmark launches nickel industry’s first mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) price

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the world’s leading price reporting agency (PRA) and market data provider for the lithium ion battery to electric vehicle (EV) supply chain, is excited to confirm the launch of the industry’s first ever Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP) price as part of our Nickel Price Assessment service.

Caspar Rawles, Head of Price Assessments, Benchmark said: 

“To date the nickel industry and available price data has been dominated and driven by nickel metal and stainless steel, yet the growing demand from lithium ion batteries has seen the nickel industry come to us and ask for further evolution in nickel pricing through the value chain.

“A true understanding of the entire lithium ion battery supply chain is central to being able to accurately assess a nickel chemical price, and this is where Benchmark is uniquely positioned as the world’s only publisher to specialise in this space. 

“We are proud to be able to launch this new MHP price with the nickel industry.”

“MHP nickel is rapidly becoming a focal point as a raw material input to the nickel chemical industry and is set to see further uptake as supply from new projects enters the market. 

“The new nickel MHP price from Benchmark will for the first time offer trusted, accurate prices for this part of a supply chain that is becoming more geared towards lithium ion batteries and electric vehicles.”

Simon Moores, Managing Director, Benchmark said: 

“The nickel industry is aware it has to think in lithium ion terms and has come to Benchmark for help on pricing benchmarks, data and for advice. 

“Our price assessment and data team have been working hard for many years now to launch new price references and benchmarks for the lithium ion battery to electric vehicle supply chain. 

“This new MHP nickel price reference is the latest in our suite of raw material and chemical price offerings which include lithium, cobalt, and graphite that the industry uses to negotiate contracts and for infrastructure investment. 

“Caspar is leading this team into a new era as we hire new members, expand into new jurisdictions and launch new price references as the world’s number one publisher in this industry. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with this fantastic industry to develop these new price mechanisms that are key to a maturing and evolving EV supply chain. 

What is MHP?

Mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) is an intermediate product of nickel metallurgy derived from laterite ores, which contains both nickel (typically 34-55% Ni content) and a small amount of cobalt (typically 1-4.5% Co content). 

The intermediate is produced primarily at operations that utilise high pressure acid leach (HPAL) to extract nickel and cobalt from low-grade laterite ores.

How is Benchmark’s MHP Nickel priced?

The nickel content within MHP is calculated as a payable to a metal price – which in the case of MHP is the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash settled nickel price. 

Benchmark will be publishing a monthly payable range collected directly from transactions between buyers and sellers in the market.

The payable will be calculated using a Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) Asia incoterm, which represents the most widely used delivered price in the market. 

Subscribe to Benchmark’s Nickel Price Assessment and view our MHP Prices Today – email: [email protected]

Crucial to a growing lithium ion battery and electric vehicle industry 

Nickel demand from lithium ion batteries set to scale rapidly over the next 10 years with Benchmark’s Nickel Forecast shows lithium ion battery’s share of total nickel demand will increase from 2.3% in 2020 to 30%. 

Trusted price data from Benchmark is crucial to scaling this supply chain and giving additional confidence to an opaque nickel chemical market. 

The intermediate is quickly becoming the preferred raw material feedstock for the battery supply chain as opposed to traditional nickel metal, due to its lower cost and the significant growth in available supply expected over the coming years.

Indeed, as the industry transitions towards more nickel intensive chemistries (NCM 811 / NCA), and cell production costs move ever closer towards the $100/KWh target as the tier one lithium ion battery average, raw materials become a larger percentage of the cell costs, nickel especially. 

The security of long term nickel supply is becoming an increasingly acute issue for cell producers and automakers alike and managing both supply and price is key to the success of all battery or EV producers. 

Whilst there are relatively few producers selling MHP directly into the market today, the majority of new nickel HPAL operations, primarily located in Indonesia, are targeting production of this intermediate product, and these plants will play a central role in supplying the growing demand for nickel from the battery industry. 

However, the use of MHP is not without complications. 

Environmental issues associated with HPAL operations is of major concern for stakeholders in the supply chain particularly at plants which utilise deep-sea tailings as a means of waste disposal.

A spill at the Ramu plant in Papua New Guinea last year drew the attention of many end-users to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks linked to the processing of MHP.

For further information or to subscribe to the Benchmark Minerals Nickel Price Assessment, or for any questions relating to the new MHP price please contact [email protected] or fill out the form below.