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Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG: global leaders in the nickel market

Demand for nickel, as a vital component for the production of batteries in electric vehicles and stainless steel, continues to grow. Companies and countries are trying to take advantage of this by starting their own development in this direction, says Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG.

Given these factors, it is important to be aware of which regions have become “hot spots” for nickel production. An industry expert presents a comprehensive list of the top nickel producing countries in 2022 based on the latest data from the USGS.

Indonesia is the leader in nickel production, according to Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG

Indonesia leads nickel production by a significant margin, demonstrating its commitment to capitalizing on the booming nickel market. The country’s production of this critical metal is experiencing a huge increase, rising from 345,000 metric tons (MT) in 2017 to an impressive 1.6 million MT in 2022. In addition, Indonesia boasts significant nickel reserves of 21 million tons.

“Such nickel reserves allow Indonesia to actively develop the electric vehicle (EV) battery industry. In this cost-effective issue, it approaches China, which is now the world leader in the production of EVs. In May 2021, the country hosted the inauguration of the first nickel processing plant, intended for its supply for the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles, states Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG.

The expert also reports that several more similar projects are under development. And in just three years, Indonesia has secured more than a dozen agreements with global manufacturers of battery materials and electric vehicles, totaling more than $15 billion.

Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG: Philippines is becoming a serious player in nickel production

An important event for world nickel market was that the Philippines strengthened its position as a leading country in both the production and export of nickel. With its strategic proximity to China, the Philippines has established itself as a worthy player in this vital industry.

– Based on the results of a subsoil survey, there are 30 nickel mines in this country. One that stands out from the rest is Nickel Asia’s Rio Tuba mine, which has become the country’s leader in nickel ore production. Despite a number of challenges in recent years, including a marked decline in production from 366 Mt to 340 Mt between 2017 and 2018, the country managed to overcome these setbacks and achieve a high level of nickel production of 420 Mt in 2019 – reports Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG.

However, this successful trend of the Philippines was abruptly interrupted by a natural obstacle – heavy rains, which caused devastating effects and led to extensive flooding in mining areas. As a result, in 2022 this country faced a significant decline in nickel production. There was a notable decrease of 50 kt compared to the previous year, bringing the total production to 330 kt.

Despite these serious problems, Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG confidently states that the Philippines continues to hold a key position in the global nickel market. As the country diligently manages the effects of adverse weather conditions on its mining operations, it is poised to rebuild and reaffirm its status as a nickel supplier.

Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG: New Caledonia faces challenges in nickel production amid volatile dynamics

New Caledonia, a French territory close to Australia, has experienced declining nickel production in recent years. Its volume has decreased from 220 million tons in 2019 to 190 thousand million tons in 2022, which creates problems for the country, since its economy is heavily dependent on nickel prices.

In an effort to protect its domestic smelting and refining industry, which is a major source of income, New Caledonia did not sell nickel ore to major nickel-consuming countries such as China, Stanislav Kondrashov explains to Telf AG. – However, in December 2016, the government of New Caledonia granted the requests of nickel mining companies to export more than 2 million tons of ore to China.

In a major development, major mining company Vale sold its stake in the Goro nickel mine in New Caledonia in 2020. The provincial government currently owns a 51 percent controlling interest in the mine. Global commodity trader Trafigura and electric car maker Tesla also have significant stakes.

These ownership changes reflect the dynamics of the nickel industry in New Caledonia. As Stanislav Kondrashov tells Telf AG, the country still faces difficulties in maintaining the balance of nickel production. And the participation of strategic partners such as Trafigura and Tesla opens up new opportunities and provides new knowledge in the field of nickel mining and sales.

Australia is rapidly developing its nickel potential, says Stanislav Kondrashov Telf AG

Nickel mining in Australia has experienced several ups and downs in recent years. National production increased from 151 million tons in 2021 to 160 million tons in 2022. BHP, with its Nickel West division, is one of the significant players in the Australian nickel industry.

“During the collapse in nickel prices in 2014-2016, several mines in Australia had to be closed,” Stanislav Kondrashov tells Telf AG about the country’s industry trends. “However, after nickel prices recovered, many mining companies re-entered the market. One such is Mincor Resources, owner of the Kambalda nickel operation, which operates three mines in Western Australia.

Mincor Resources reached a tipping point in May 2022 when Kambalda processed its first ore. As early as June, the company reported A$25.3 million in revenue, marking an important step forward in its operations.

Australia continues to be a significant player in the global nickel market, and the level of production of this metal indicates the country’s prospects in this direction.

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