The Russia-Ukraine conflict has created uncertainty over global supply of mined nickel – particularly high-grade nickel, which is used as battery-grade nickel in the electric vehicle (EV) industry – market research firm Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research (Fitch Solutions) said in its ‘Global Nickel Outlook’ report on July 8.
To illustrate the impact, last year, Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel alone provided about 17% of the global supply of class one nickel. In total, Russia accounts for about 21% of global class one nickel production, followed by Canada at 17%, Australia at 14% and China 10%.
While nickel is the fifth most common element on earth and is currently mined in more than 25 countries, higher-grade sulphide deposits located in well-established mining regions have mostly been depleted, necessitating additional exploration in new and riskier jurisdictions.
However, Fitch Solutions said that, aside from the uncertainty surrounding Russia, high prices for refined nickel and reduced disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic would likely result in strong nickel mine production growth this year and next.