Nickel mines in Australia produced 180,000 tonnes of the metal in 2019, putting the country in fifth place for production worldwide.

Nickel is the rising star of the base metals world, and is quickly gaining more prominence beyond its traditional role in industrial applications through the creation of stainless steel.

Moonlighting as a key ingredient in the electric metals world, nickel is a major component in the creation of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and other electric applications.

Australia is positioned to take advantage of rising demand for the metal, with the continent-spanning nation sitting on some 20 percent of global nickel reserves, behind only neighbouring Indonesia.

Australian government data estimates that the country had some 19.7 million tonnes of economic demonstrated reserves of the metal in 2018.

According to US Geological Survey data, Australia produced 180,000 tonnes of nickel in 2019, making it the fifth most prolific producer in the world — a title it shares with Canada.

Well ahead of Australia is Indonesia (800,000 tonnes), the Philippines (420,000 tonnes), Russia (270,000 tonnes) and New Caledonia (220,000 tonnes).

Australia’s production of nickel comes from 12 operating mines. All are in the state of Western Australia, which makes sense since that state is home to over 90 percent of the economic demonstrated reserves in the country. The remaining nickel is held in New South Wales (4 percent) and Queensland (5 percent).

There are plenty of deposits, however. The country’s 19.7 million tonnes of economic demonstrated reserves can be found across 84 deposits, while there are 233 known deposits in Australia.

It’s worth noting that interest in nickel is being helped along by the growing push to diversify global production of cobalt. Cobalt is frequently produced as a by-product of nickel and copper mines, and as more miners seek to move away from the unrelentingly unstable Democratic Republic of Congo, which has a near-monopoly on global cobalt production, more explorers are sniffing around Australia, a nation that is known to be an attractive mining jurisdiction.

Nickel mines in Australia: Top producers

The largest nickel reserves in Australia are all located in the southern half of Western Australia, where operators such as Canada’s First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM,OTC Pink:FQVLF), the Anglo-Swiss Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) and Australia’s own BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP) operate the Ravensthorpe, Murrin Murrin and Mount Keith mines, respectively.

Those top mines account for a large share of Australia’s total output.

Ravensthorpe, which is near the south coast of Western Australia, has been in the hands of First Quantum since 2010, when it acquired the then-mothballed mine and associated processing facility. Since then, it has been ploughing money and time into the project to bring it online.

Ravensthorpe produced nickel between 2011 and 2017, but as mentioned was placed into care and maintenance due to low nickel prices; since early 2020, it has been producing again, accounting for 5,113 tonnes of nickel in Q3 of that year. Murrin Murrin is a larger producer. Owned by Glencore through local operator Minara Resources, Murrin Murrin produced 17,800 tonnes of nickel in the first half of 2020 — some 32 percent of all of Glencore’s global nickel production.

The big cheese in Western Australia, however, is Australia’s own BHP, which owns and operates its Nickel West division in the centre of the state.

Four mines are operated by BHP with a focus on nickel: the low-grade Mount Keith mine and the higher-grade Cliffs, Leinster and Rocky’s Reward mines. Ore mined by BHP is sent to Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie smelter, where it also processes ores and concentrates purchased from third parties.

BHP has a fully integrated operation, with premium nickel powder and briquettes shipped from its Fremantle port facilities. Seventy-five percent of its nickel is sold to global battery material suppliers.

No surprises, then, that BHP is top dog when it comes to nickel production in Australia, accounting for 22,000 tonnes of nickel in Q3 2020. Its guidance for the 2020/2021 financial year puts its total expected output at between 85,000 and 95,000 tonnes — almost half of Australia’s nickel production.

With 75 percent of that going to battery material suppliers, Australia is shaping up to be an integral part of the technology supply chain.

Nickel mines in Australia: Outlook for the future

The future of nickel in Australia is bright, with the metal already building from a strong base. The export value of nickel for Australia in 2018 was AU$4,285 million, according to government data, with Canberra noting that “if accessible economic demonstrated reserve is used as an indication of long-term potential supply, then Australia’s nickel resources could last 133 years at 2018 rates of production.”

Projects that are progressing through exploration and development are popping up elsewhere in Australia besides Western Australia — the Sconi battery metals project in Queensland, owned by Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ,OTCQB:AMSLF), and the Sunrise nickel-cobalt project, owned by Clean TeQ Holdings (ASX:CLQ,OTCQX:CTEQF) in New South Wales, are in the development stages.

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

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

Lake Resources NL Quarterly Activities Report

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (FRA:LK1) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF) is a lithium developer utilising clean, direct extraction technology for the development of high purity lithium products with significant ESG benefits from its flagship Kachi Project (4.4mt LCE resource), and three other lithium brine projects in Argentina. No mining is involved in the brine processing.

Lake owns over 220,000 hectares (0.5 million acres) of leases in a prime location within the Lithium Triangle, alongside all 5 major lithium producers.

A key difference in Lake’s development plan to lithium production is to use an efficient direct lithium extraction method (DLE) from our technology partner, Lilac Solutions Inc. This enables Lake Resources to be a cost competitive supplier of high-purity lithium carbonate with a low carbon (CO2) footprint, low water use and low land use – strong Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) benefits.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Access Medical Cannabis in Australia

Recreational cannabis remains out of reach in Australia, but the country legalised medical cannabis in 2016, opening up access to the cannabis market for both Australians and investors alike.

Cannabis in Australia is used to treat a myriad of conditions, from epilepsy to neuropathic pain, but federal legislation has a strict hold on the distribution of cannabis in the country.

Patients can only receive medicinal cannabis products via a specialist and then may have to wait up to a month for government approval. However, there are signs that the limits to access are slowly lessening, including the approval of over-the-counter cannabidiol (CBD) products and new breakthroughs in government-sponsored medical cannabis research.

Keep reading... Show less

OceanaGold Reports Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results

/NOT FOR DISSEMINATION OR DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO US NEWSWIRE SERVICES./

(All financial figures in US Dollars unless otherwise stated)

Keep reading... Show less

In exceptional market conditions, Rio Tinto achieves record financial results and declares total interim dividend of 561 US cents per share, 75% of underlying earnings

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said “Government stimulus in response to ongoing COVID-19 pressures has driven strong demand for our products at a time of constrained supply resulting in a significant spike in most prices. We focused on safely running our world-class assets and supplying products to our customers. This enabled us, despite operational challenges, to deliver record financial results with free cash flow of $10.2 billion and underlying earnings of $12.2 billion, after taxes and government royalties of $7.3 billion. We are further strengthening the portfolio with our commitment to fund the high-quality Jadar lithium project, which signals our large-scale entry into the fast-growing battery materials market. We will pay an interim dividend of 561 US cents per share, representing 75% of underlying earnings.

“We are making progress on our four priorities, identifying opportunities for operational improvement, advancing our ESG agenda, taking important investment decisions and stepping up our external engagement. We are making real and lasting changes to the way we engage, interact and operate and are committed to ensuring that we have strong and positive relationships wherever we do business. We have identified what we need to do to make Rio Tinto a better company for the long term, with the right teams in place to unleash our full potential.”

Keep reading... Show less

Lake Resources NL Bonus Issue to Shareholders

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Clean lithium developer Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (FRA:LK1) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF), in recognition of the support received from its shareholders, wishes to advise that it intends to undertake a bonus issue of options (Bonus Options) to all shareholders with an address in Australia or New Zealand (Eligible Shareholders) at 5:00 pm (Sydney time) on the Record Date (set out in the indicative timetable set out below*).

As the Bonus Options will be issued for nil consideration, Lake is raising no capital from their issue. For every ten (10) shares held at 5:00 pm (Sydney time) on the Record Date, Eligible Shareholders will be issued with one (1) free Bonus Option.

The Bonus Options will have an exercise price $0.35 each, expiring on 15 October 2021 and, if exercised, each will result in the allotment and issue of one (1) fully paid ordinary share in Lake. Lake will not seek listing of the Bonus Options on ASX.

Keep reading... Show less

Lake Resources NL Quarterly Activities Report

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (FRA:LK1) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF) is a lithium developer utilising clean, direct extraction technology for the development of high purity lithium products with significant ESG benefits from its flagship Kachi Project (4.4mt LCE resource), and three other lithium brine projects in Argentina. No mining is involved in the brine processing.

Lake owns over 220,000 hectares (0.5 million acres) of leases in a prime location within the Lithium Triangle, alongside all 5 major lithium producers.

A key difference in Lake’s development plan to lithium production is to use an efficient direct lithium extraction method (DLE) from our technology partner, Lilac Solutions Inc. This enables Lake Resources to be a cost competitive supplier of high-purity lithium carbonate with a low carbon (CO2) footprint, low water use and low land use – strong Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) benefits.

Keep reading... Show less

OceanaGold Reports Second Quarter 2021 Financial Results

/NOT FOR DISSEMINATION OR DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO US NEWSWIRE SERVICES./

(All financial figures in US Dollars unless otherwise stated)

Keep reading... Show less

In exceptional market conditions, Rio Tinto achieves record financial results and declares total interim dividend of 561 US cents per share, 75% of underlying earnings

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said “Government stimulus in response to ongoing COVID-19 pressures has driven strong demand for our products at a time of constrained supply resulting in a significant spike in most prices. We focused on safely running our world-class assets and supplying products to our customers. This enabled us, despite operational challenges, to deliver record financial results with free cash flow of $10.2 billion and underlying earnings of $12.2 billion, after taxes and government royalties of $7.3 billion. We are further strengthening the portfolio with our commitment to fund the high-quality Jadar lithium project, which signals our large-scale entry into the fast-growing battery materials market. We will pay an interim dividend of 561 US cents per share, representing 75% of underlying earnings.

“We are making progress on our four priorities, identifying opportunities for operational improvement, advancing our ESG agenda, taking important investment decisions and stepping up our external engagement. We are making real and lasting changes to the way we engage, interact and operate and are committed to ensuring that we have strong and positive relationships wherever we do business. We have identified what we need to do to make Rio Tinto a better company for the long term, with the right teams in place to unleash our full potential.”

Keep reading... Show less

Lake Resources NL Bonus Issue to Shareholders

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Clean lithium developer Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (FRA:LK1) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF), in recognition of the support received from its shareholders, wishes to advise that it intends to undertake a bonus issue of options (Bonus Options) to all shareholders with an address in Australia or New Zealand (Eligible Shareholders) at 5:00 pm (Sydney time) on the Record Date (set out in the indicative timetable set out below*).

As the Bonus Options will be issued for nil consideration, Lake is raising no capital from their issue. For every ten (10) shares held at 5:00 pm (Sydney time) on the Record Date, Eligible Shareholders will be issued with one (1) free Bonus Option.

The Bonus Options will have an exercise price $0.35 each, expiring on 15 October 2021 and, if exercised, each will result in the allotment and issue of one (1) fully paid ordinary share in Lake. Lake will not seek listing of the Bonus Options on ASX.

Keep reading... Show less

Lake Resources NL Argentina based Director Strengthens Board

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Clean lithium developer Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (FRA:LK1) (OTCMKTS:LLKKF) has strengthened its Board, announcing today the appointment of experienced energy/natural resources lawyer, Sra. Amalia Saenz as a Non-Executive Director.

Based in Buenos Aires, Sra. Amalia’s appointment will assist Lake and its local team in Argentina in engaging with local stakeholders and preparing for the development of clean lithium production in Argentina.

Sra. Saenz is a partner at the law firm, Zang, Bergel & Viaes in Buenos Aires, where she leads the firm’s energy and natural resources practice.

Keep reading... Show less

Classic Minerals Limited Quarterly Activities Report

Perth, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Classic Minerals Limited (ASX:CLZ) has made significant progress at Kat Gap during the quarter as it strives to become a gold producer.

Highlights of the quarter include:

– Assay results returned for infill RC drilling testing the gap between oxide and deeper fresh rock high-grade gold mineralisation at Kat Gap.

Keep reading... Show less

Top News

Related News