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Global nickel production up 21% in 2022 as Indonesian output jumps 54%

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(Kitco News) - Preliminary estimates show that global mine nickel production increased by 21% to 3,300 thousand tonnes in 2022. Production in Indonesia, the world’s largest nickel producing country, increased by 54% y-o-y to 1,600 thousand tonnes in 2022.  

According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), global mine nickel production reached 3,300 thousand tonnes in 2022 and was 21% higher than 2,730 thousand tonnes produced in 2021.

Global mine nickel production, tonnes. 2022* - preliminary estimates. Source: USGS.

With 1,600 thousand tonnes of mined metal, Indonesia was once again an undisputed leader in nickel production, followed by the Philippines (330 thousand tonnes) and Russia (220 thousand tonnes).

USGS said that mine nickel production in Indonesia increased by an estimated 54%, which was facilitated by the ongoing commissioning of integrated nickel pig iron and stainless-steel projects.

In addition, several companies continued to develop projects to produce intermediate matte or mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide that were intended to be used as feedstock to produce battery-grade nickel sulfate.

Largest nickel producing countries, tonnes of mined metal. 2022*- preliminary estimates. Source: USGS.

USGS added that in 2022, the annual average LME nickel cash price was estimated to have increased by 35% compared with that in 2021 which was attributed to increasing use of nickel in electric vehicle batteries and continued strong demand for stainless steel. Monthly average prices peaked in March, but began to decline through July, and stabilized for the remainder of the year.

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