Worldwide nickel production in 2020 was reported at 2.5mn mt by the U.S Geological Survey (USGC). Production fell by almost 4pc or by 110,000mt from the previous year. An estimated production drop of 5pc was expected by USGC.
According to USGC estimates, Indonesia is sitting on the highest nickel reserves endowed with 21mn mt followed by Australia with 20mn mt and Brazil at 16mn mt.
The top five nickel production nations in 2020 were Indonesia on the top with 766,000mt produced, down 11pc from the prior year. The Philippines produced 320,000mt in 2020, down by 1pc from 2019 levels. Russia came in next after reporting 280,000mt production of nickel, flat from the preceding year. New Caledonia produced 200,000mt, down 4pc from 2019 and Australia came in as the fifth biggest producer of nickel after reporting 170,000mt in 2020, up 7pc from the previous year.
Production and consumption in US
In 2020, United States produced 16,000mt of nickel in concentrate from the underground Eagle Mine in Michigan. The nickel in concentrates were exported to smelters in Canada and overseas. A Missouri company recovered nickel metals from mine tailings through the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative.
The leading uses of primary nickel in US are stainless steel and alloy steel, electroplating, nonferrous alloys and other uses like catalyst and chemicals. Around 85pc of US consumption consists of stainless steel and allot steel and other types of nickel containing alloys, stated USGC.
Domestic production of stainless steel decreased in the first half of 2020 which accounted for a drop of 20pc in primary nickel consumption in US, amid the pandemic which limited economic activities. Aviation and oil and gas sectors, the leading consumers of stainless steel in US accounted for a 70pc drop in the total decrease of primary nickel as they reduced consumption of nickel alloys. US total production was estimated to fall by 10pc in 2020 but it fell almost 19pc.
Through recycling, nickel in alloyed form was recovered through the processing of nickel contained scrap that included flute dust, mill scale, grinding swarf and shot blast generated during manufacturing of stainless steel amongst other ways of recovery. In 2020, almost 50pc of consumption of nickel was in form of recycled nickel.
Global production and consumption
Worldwide nickel production in 2020 was reported at 2.5mn mt by the U.S Geological Survey (USGC). Production fell by almost 4pc or by 110,000mt from the previous year. Estimated production drop for 2020 was estimated to fall by 5pc. Stainless steel production in several leading companies decreased but was offset by the strong recovery in China’s production of nickel stainless steel grades post March quarter in 2020 and the jump in nickel pig iron and stainless steel projects ramping up in Indonesia, notes USGC.