Luxembourg-based Wave Nickel, which uses microwave technology to extract metals, plans to build a refinery in Texas to meet demand for a key component in electric vehicle batteries.
Wave Nickel CEO Gustavo Emina said the plant will produce nickel sulphate for electric vehicle batteries.
“It has become a matter of national security for the United States to guarantee the supply of strategic minerals, which has come to our attention,” Emina said. “There is a lot of money, but few projects.”
Wave Nickel, which also owns a nickel mine in Brazil, expects the US facility to take about four years to develop. The refinery will source its feedstock from a yet-to-be-built Brazilian plant that uses microwaves to produce mixed hydroxide sludge, the feedstock used to make nickel sulfate. The firm expects to produce 40,000 tons of sludge by 2028, enough to produce 20,000 tons of nickel, according to the CEO.
The startup is controlled by New Wave, a holding company in which the family of the late Norwegian entrepreneur Erling Lorentzen, a Brazilian pulp industry pioneer, is the majority shareholder.
The parent company, also overseen by Emina, also owns Wave Aluminum, which uses microwaves to extract minerals from alumina tailings. The Group is building bauxite processing plants at Norsk Hydro ASA's Alunorte facility in Brazil.