Research agency Fitch Solutions expects global nickel production to decrease significantly over the course of this year, as major producer Indonesia’s nickel ore export ban comes into effect.
The ban in Indonesia was announced in September 2019, bringing it forward to go into effect from January this year instead of January 2022. As a result, Fitch expects global nickel ore production to decrease by 60% year-on-year to 269-million tonnes this year.
This compares with the agency’s previous forecast of 15% growth in global nickel ore output this year. Production growth in the Philippines, where some currently suspended mines will become operational again as the country aims to plug the supply gap caused by the Indonesian export ban, will offset the lower Indonesian output to some extent.
In the longer term, the ban could increase investment into Indonesia’s growing smelting sector, which refines the mined nickel ore, the agency noted.
The Philippines is, as a result, expected to dethrone Indonesia as the top nickel producer globally, with mining production in the Philippines expected to witness a significant surge in 2020 as currently suspended mining operations in the country are set to obtain licences to resume operations.