The top 10 countries that produce the most nickel in the world are part of an industry which is worth more than $20 billion, and these countries are able to reap most of the benefits. Being the largest producer of any naturally occurring element is largely based on luck and the size of the country. The bigger the country, the greater the chances of finding vast reserves within. This is why you’ll notice that a lot of countries in our list are also some of the biggest countries in the world by land size.
Nickel is an extremely important metal, and has a long history, from being used in 200 BC to even reaching Europe. Because of its famous anti corrosive properties, even at high temperatures, nickel has always been really popular, and is even used to plate other metals in order to protect them. It has been used in desalination plants as well, which are use to convert seawater, or saltwater, into fresh water, in addition to being used for armor plating as well.
In the United States, nickel production isn’t extremely high due to limited reserves, even though it is one of the 10 largest nickel producing countries in the world. In fact, 84% of the total global reserves are present in just these 1o countries. Going back to the US, the Eagle Mine, present in Michigan, was responsible for the production of around 14,000 tons of nickel, which was mostly exported both to Canada and overseas as well.
In the United States, the primary purpose and usage of nickel is in the production of stainless steel, followed by alloy steel, nonferrous alloys, electroplating, catalysts and chemicals among others. While stainless steel production actually decreased by 10% in 2019, nickel usage in alloys used in jet turbine engines continued to increase steadily.
Since the US production of nickel is limited and its consumption exceeds production, the US imports nickel from several countries around the world, including neighbor Canada, which comprises of 41% of total imports, Norway at 11%, Australia at 8% and Finland at 8%.
As prices of nickel are increasing year on year, cheaper substitutes are now entering the market to provide competition to nickel, and while it was once an integral part of the composition of a penny coin in the US, the coin is now made almost entirely from zinc. On the other hand, if your interest lies in expensive metal of a certain yellowish hue, you might be tempted to check out the 15 largest gold producing countries in the world.
To rank the largest nickel producing countries in the world, we consulted the Mineral Commodities Survey 2020, which comprises of information regarding several minerals on a global scale. For each country, we checked its production both in 2018 and 2019, and decided on their ranking based on their production for both years. So without further ado, let’s take a look at where the global supply for nickel comes from, starting with number 10: