Nickel mine production worldwide
Nickel is a lustrous, silvery-white metallic element. It is the fifth most common element on earth, however, much of this metal is located within the earth’s core and therefore, inaccessible. Primary nickel can be used as an alloy, such as ferro-nickel, produced largely in Japan and New Caledonia. In fact, one of its most popular uses is as an alloy (e.g. with chromium and other metals) to produce stainless and heat-resistant steels for use as pots, pans, kitchen sinks, etc. It can also be used as part of nickel oxides and within other chemicals. Nickel is a very versatile metal and is currently used for many different applications, such as those of industrial, military, aerospace, marine, and architectural means. In its various applications, it can often be recycled and the secondary nickel then, commonly used as supplementation to newly mined material.
Nickel is usually mined as a metal with greater than 75% purity through ore extraction using processes related to roasting and reduction. Nickel ore is mined in 23 countries and smelted or refined in 25 countries, globally. Mining was most prominent in the Philippines, Russia, Canada, Australia, and New Caledonia in 2016, with the average 2015 nickel price totaling approximately 11,900 U.S. dollars per metric ton. Currently, Australia has one of the world’s largest reserves at 19 million metric tons; globally, there are some 78 million metric tons. As of 2012, nickel is estimated to have 15 remaining life years.