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The future of Australian mining minerals: Nickel

Underground Mining Tunnel

So far, nickel hasn't played as a big a role in Australian mining as more common resources - namely, coal, gold, copper, iron ore and gas. However, there's no doubt that nickel is incredibly important to contemporary living. We use it to create powerful alloys that are resistant to rust and its useful qualities are numerous - from its ability to cope with extreme temperatures to its extraordinary malleability. One application for which nickel is crucial is the creation of stainless steel.

As more and more people are set to become affluent, the demand for appliances containing nickel, from washing machines to car wheels, is only going to rise. This will be intensified by the fact that we are now moving away from petrol-powered vehicles towards those dependent on battery energy: nickel is necessary to the creation of batteries.

The picture in Australia

Right now, Australia is the fourth largest provider of nickel in the world. It follows on the heels of Russia, Indonesia and the Philippines. However, as far as ownership of resources goes, Australia is actually first on the list, being home to 24.4% of all reserves currently known to humankind. Most of our nickel is found in Western Australia, but it's also present in Queensland, near Townsville and Gladstone; in northern Tasmania; and in New South Wales' central west.

Investments

At the moment, there are only two significant nickel refineries in Australia. One, which is owned by BHP and located in Perth, employs 2,000 people. The other, which is located in Townsville and owned by Clive Palmer, employs 1,000 people. Palmer must be fairly convinced that nickel has a bright future, as he has stated that he intends to spend $1 billion improving the facilities and infrastructure.

Furthermore, Tasmania's Avebury nickel mine has just been bought by QCG Resources at a hefty price of $40 million. This mine was shut down back in 2009, because nickel prices were suffering at the time. But QCG are onto something: the value of nickel grew by 34% between Christmas 2013 and mid-2014.

Global predictions

According to expert predictors, IBISWorld, nickel performance across the globe is highly likely to improve over the course of the next five years. Their prediction is that, every year, revenue will increase by about 5.2%, until it reaches $3.13 billion in 2017-18.

Are you looking for equipment for mining?

If you're thinking about jumping on the nickel bandwagon early, then you're going to need some equipment. Here at National Plant and Equipment, we sell a wide range of reliable, premium quality plant and equipment gear. We're proud to say that we're a trusted supplier of several respected companies. To find out more, give our experienced sales team a call today.