Indonesia to lead nickel production; to grow over 8 per cent – report

Global nickel ore production growth will continue to accelerate in 2018 as major producer countries see a recovery in production levels following subdued output in 2017, BMI Research said in a new report.

“We forecast world nickel production to grow by an annual average rate of 3.5% over 2018-2027, slightly slower than the 3.5% average rates achieved during 2008-2017, which were boosted by higher nickel prices experienced before the commodities slump and Indonesian growth before the export ban in 2014,” the report said.

Throughout the period 2018-2027, BMI sees Indonesia’s nickel industry growing production by 8.1 per cent, in part benefiting from stricter environmental regulations in its biggest regional competitor, the Philippines. This development would increase the rate at which Indonesia regains part of the Chinese market share it had previously lost to its neighbour.

According to BMI, by 2027 global annual nickel production should reach 2.9 million tonnes. In the firm’s view, Indonesia would continue to lead the way after having surpassed the Philippines as the largest global producer in 2017. The transcontinental country will also be the best performing one in terms of nickel production growth during 2018-2027 thanks in part to the moderation of its export ban.

“We expect production growth in Indonesia to remain sustained in 2018 as the nickel mining industry continues to recover. As such, we forecast output in the country to reach 480 kilo tonnes in 2018 up from 400 kilo tonnes in 2017, a 20% y-o-y rise,” the study states.

BMI analysts rate Australia, which enjoys a stable regulatory environment and a solid project pipeline, as the second best-performing major producer.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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