The world’s total annual consumption of nickel may increase by 6pc to 3.2mn mt after reaching a deficit in 2023, according to Australia’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER).

 

Nickel surplus is forecasted to narrow in 2021 worldwide but production will recover to post-pandemic levels of around 2.6mn mt per year. However, according to the department, the potential suspension of operations in New Caledonia and Indonesia’s export ban on ore may impact near-term supply. Increased mining activity in the Philippines and slow recovery resulted in a rise in consumption for the silver metal in H1 2021.

 

Global mine output is estimated to increase by 5pc each year for the next five years, noted DISER to the media on Monday. The department has attributed this growth to new refinery construction taking place in Indonesia. 

 

Ridwan Djamaluddin, director general of energy and coal in the country’s energy ministry, noted to the media on Tuesday that three new nickel smelter are slated to be operational by H2 2021. Two smelters owned by PT Smelter and PT Cahaya Modern Metals have completed production trials and are looking for additional investment.

 

Smelter no. 3 owned by PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (Antam) is 97.7pc complete but has to resolve electricity supply issues, according to Djamaluddin. 

 

DISER concluded that global nickel production took a hit in 2020 at 2.4mn mt, a 12pc decline from 2019. Consumption of the metal decreased by 1.3pc during the same timeframe. Multiple mine closures and COVID-19 induced lockdowns were the primary reasons for these low numbers last year. 

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