Canada’s nickel producers are hoping to differentiate their products as cleaner and purer
Mining industry veteran Mark Selby has for years been telling anyone who would listen that the production of nickel — a metal key to batteries and the energy transition — was getting so concentrated in just a few countries that a cartel-like organization to control supply was inevitable.
A slide in the PowerPoint deck he’s shown at investment conferences since 2019 predicted an “ONEC” — the Organization for Nickel Exporting Countries — consisting of Indonesia, the Philippines and Russia, the top three nickel producers.
Together, the most recent version of the slide notes, those three countries accounted for 60 per cent of nickel production in 2021. That’s more than the 54 per cent of global oil supply that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produced at its peak in 1973.
What Selby never predicted is that Canada would be invited to join such an organization, as reportedly happened in Egypt last week when an Indonesian government official pitched federal industry minister Mary Ng on the idea.