Nickel is shaping up to be a vital metal in the age of technology. Here we take a look at the five top ASX nickel-mining stocks by market cap.

Nickel is a high-luster, silver-white base metal that has found diverse uses in stainless steel, coins and plating throughout history.

But for all its traditional industrial uses, it’s starting to look more like a battery metal as its role in lithium-ion batteries has it in high demand.

From smartphones to electric vehicles (EVs) to anything that needs a charge, nickel goes hand in hand with cobalt as a vital component of modern technology.

Here, the Investing News Network look at the top ASX nickel-mining stocks, including explorers and developers, by market cap. Data for this article was gathered on TradingView on September 13, 2018.

1. Independence Group (ASX:IGO)

Market cap: AU$2.35 billion; current price: AU$4.16

Independence Group commits itself to battery and EV technology right out of the gate, describing itself as having a “strategic focus on high quality assets of scale and longevity” that “align the business to the structural shift to energy storage.”

While it has a few projects on the boil, its prize asset is the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation near Esperance in Western Australia, which it owns in its entirety, and has been steadily developing since its discovery in 2012.

Nova reached commercial production in July 2017, and produced 22,258 tonnes of nickel in the financial year ended June 31, 2018, with guidance of 27,000 to 30,000 tonnes in the current financial year.

2. Regis Resources (ASX:RRL)

Market cap: AU$2.06 billion; current price: AU$3.94

Regis Resources spends most of its time developing gold projects, of which it has five across Western Australia and New South Wales, but it’s the Collurabbie nickel project that earns it a place on this list.

Located near Laverton, northeast of Kalgoorlie in a premier mining area of Western Australia, Collurabbie holds prospective nickel mineralization potential.

The company holds 70 percent of the Collurabbie block under mineral license, and “has conducted intensive nickel exploration programs” there, where it’s detected nickel-copper-PGMs results.

3. Mincor Resources (ASX:MCR)

Market cap: AU$77.06 million; current price: AU$0.365

Mincor Resources is another company that’s taking a bob each way, with interests in both gold and nickel. Its nickel assets are very close to Kalgoorlie, where proximity to BHP Billiton’s (ASX:BHP,LSE:BLT,NYSE:BHP) Nickel West has allowed it to sell its product via offtake agreements with the global miner.

While its nickel assets were wound down in 2016 due to a fall in the value of the metal (in 2016 it fell below US$8,000 a tonne), the company held onto them, putting them into care and maintenance.

As of 2018, the company is sitting on a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 3.3 million tonnes of ore grading 3.6 percent nickel at its Kambalda holdings, for 118,000 tonnes of contained nickel.

The company has said that with a projected increase in nickel price in coming years, it plans to be ready for the wave.

4. Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL)

Market cap: AU$55.51 million; current price:AU$0.59

Ardea Resources is an explorer and developer primarily focused on its Goongarrie nickel-cobalt project, again near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

It’s another company that defines itself upfront by market demands and the lucrative lithium-ion boom taking the world by storm: it is positioning itself “to be a supplier of high-grade cobalt and nickel sulfate to the lithium ion battery market as the automotive electrification revolution continues to rapidly grow.”

Goongarrie has reserves of 773 million tonnes grading 0.71 percent nickel and 0.06 percent cobalt — so it’s well supplied. Besides Goongarrie, the company has a number of gold projects, including the Mount Zephyr gold-nickel project, which is nearby.

5. Jervois Mining (ASX:JRV)

Market cap: AU$54.54 million; current price: AU$0.28

Taking a break from Western Australia, Jervois Mining is developing the Nico Young nickel-cobalt deposit in New South Wales. It has an inferred resources of 167.8 million tonnes grading 0.59 percent nickel and 0.06 percent cobalt.

The resources are held between two exploration licenses; Ardnaree and Thuddungra, where between them the company has completed more than 10,000 meters of drilling over 20 years.

That hard work should be coming to a head in 2018 though, with the company working on a prefeasibility study for Nico Young that is expected to be complete by the end of Q3.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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