Metals are crucial in modern society
The benefits of metals include good recyclability. But recycling alone is not enough to meet the needs of modern society. The use of metals is enhanced by the electrification of traffic, as well as the production and storage solutions offered by renewable energy sources, for example.
Currently, Terrafame produces nickel, cobalt, zinc and copper, which are used for stainless steel, in corrosion protection as well as in batteries and in electronics, for example. In metals production, the company utilises energy-efficient bioleaching technology, which also allows for lower production greenhouse gas emissions than the traditional foam-smelter technology. Furthermore, Terrafame’s goal is to enhance the utilisation of the ore from mining.
Nickel is one of the most used metals in the world, and has excellent recyclability. Nearly two thirds of nickel is used in the production of steel and manufacture of metal alloys. Nickel is combined with other metals, as it enhances durability and rust prevention.
Together with cobalt, nickel is a significant material in batteries for electric vehicles. According to estimates, by 2030 about one quarter of new cars globally could be electric or hybrid vehicles.
Zinc is one of the most used metals, and it has high recyclability. Together with nickel, zinc is very popular in the rust protection of steel. Furthermore, it is utilised in batteries, radiators, paints and in the manufacture of rubber.
Zinc is also beneficial for agriculture. Zinc in fertiliser enhances crop yield, and the nutritional values of the crop are improved.
The European Union has defined cobalt as one of critical raw materials. According to the definition, critical raw materials cannot usually be replaced by other materials, they play an important economic role and there are risks related to their availability. Cobalt has also been defined as a hi-tech metal suitable for low-emission energy solutions.
Just over half of global cobalt production is currently utilised in the production of battery chemicals, and the growing popularity of electric vehicles also indicates growth in the demand for cobalt.
Copper is also one the most used metals in the world. It has excellent electrical conductivity, which is why it is particularly used in electrical cables, electricity production and electronics. Copper is suitable for various metal alloys, for example, in the manufacture of brass and bronze. Additionally, is it utilised in construction and in coins.
Uranium is used for energy production in nuclear power plants. Together with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, the use of uranium in energy production supports efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.