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Nickel Prices Skyrocket Amid Russia-Ukraine Crisis

  • On March 8, 2022, nickel prices soared to $100,000/t, which doubled from the previous day’s closing
  • In 2021, total nickel production around the world was 2,427 thousand tonnes, with an increase of 6.8% from the previous year
  • Russia produced around 8% of the world’s nickel during the same period

On March 8, 2022, nickel prices soared to $100,000/t, which doubled from the previous day’s closing, due to concerns over the supply chain owing to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Due to this unprecedented surge, the London Metal Exchange (LME) paused nickel trading for a day. LME also increased the margin amount for futures trading in the metal. In the wake of these events, the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX), a commodity exchange based in India, also increased the margins for nickel contracts.

Importance of Nickel

Nickel, also known as German Silver, offers superior corrosion resistance, toughness, heat resistance, and unique magnetic and electrical properties. Nickel is mostly used to make stainless steel, electroplating (nickel coating), casting, and batteries. Nickel is an essential metal for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing as the metal is used in battery making. There is a fear of rising input costs in EVs as nickel prices rise.

Nickel Production

In 2021, global nickel production was 2,427 thousand tonnes, an increase of 6.8% over that in the previous year. Indonesia, the Philippines, New Caledonia, Russia, and Australia are the major nickel-producing countries. Indonesia was the largest producer of nickel in 2021, with a production volume of 884 thousand tonnes, up 16% YoY. The Philippines ranked second with a market volume of 351 thousand tonnes, up 5.1%. Russia produced around 8% of the world’s nickel during this period.

Major Nickel Mines of Russia

  • Kola MMC Mine, owned by MMC Norilsk Nickel, is a surface and underground mine in Murmansk Oblast. The run-of-mine (ROM) production of nickel was 7.8 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) in 2021.
  • Oktyabrsky Mine, owned by MMC Norilsk Nickel, is an underground mine in Krasnoyarsk Krai. In 2021, nickel ROM output was 5.0 mmtpa.
  • Taimyrsky Mine, an underground mine in Krasnoyarsk Krai, is owned by MMC Norilsk Nickel. Nickel production from the mine was 4.25 mmtpa in 2021.
  • Komsomolsky Mine, an underground mine in Krasnoyarsk Krai, is owned by MMC Norilsk Nickel. Nickel production from the mine was 4.2 mmtpa in 2021


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