Nickel is preeminently an alloy metal, and its chief use is in the nickel steels and nickel cast irons, of which there are many varieties. It is also widely used in many other alloys, such as nickel brasses and bronzes, and alloys with copper, chromium, aluminium, lead, cobalt, silver, and gold. 

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Annually, around 1,3 million tons of nickel is produced globally. Two-thirds of the nickel is used in stainless steel production (as raw material), 20% in coins and alloys, and 10% in electroplating. World stainless steel production increased 16,7% in 2006 to 28,4 million tonnes. For every 5% annual growth in nickel consumption, an additional 60,000 tonnes of nickel production annually, are required. 

Nickel production will lag behind consumption in 2007 by 22,000 tons, rising to 47,000 tons in 2008, Surrey, England-based metals consulting company, Brook Hunt, said on February 28, 2007.
CVRD was the largest producer of refined nickel in the world in 2006, with 250,600 tonnes. CVRD is currently developing three nickel laterite projects, Onca Puma and Vermelho in Brazil and Goro in New Caledonia. It was recently announced Goro would not come on stream until late 2008.
Data produced by the West Perth, Australia-based mineral research organisation Intierra shows that Australia remained ahead of Canada to be the second largest nickel producer in the world after Russia in 2006. Australia's significant mines hold a total of 762 Mt at 1,16% Ni for a contained 5.902 million t of nickel metal.
China, in 2006, imported around 3,78 million tons of nickel ore (mainly low-grade ore from the Philippines), 6,8 times higher than 2005. China's demand for nickel could be 400,000 tonnes in 2010 on growing demand from the stainless steel industry and battery production. It will only be able to supply 124,000 tonnes of nickel from domestic sources by 2010 due to limited mining production in China. China had verified nickel ore reserves of 9,51 million tonnes as of 2005, spread over 97 sites, with 98% of the mining sites under full production.

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  • Ontario operations (Sudbury) produced 216 million pounds (98,000 tonnes) of finished nickel in 2005.
  • Manitoba operations produced 107 million pounds (49,000 tonnes) of finished nickel in 2005.
  • Voisey's Bay started producing in 2005.
  • Indonesian operations produced 168 million pounds (76,400 tonnes) of nickel-in-matte in 2005.
  • Developing the Goro project located on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, an overseas territorial community of France. Goro has 55 million tonnes of estimated measured and indicated mineral reserves, and a very large resource base. The expected annual capacity of the Goro project is 60,000 metric tonnes of nickel and 4,300 to 5,000 metric tonnes of cobalt. Inco holds a 69 percent interest in the Goro project. The three provinces of New Caledonia hold a 10 percent equity interest in the project, through their holding company Société de participation minière du Sud calédonien (SPMSC) ensuring that the people of New Caledonia participate in and directly benefit from Goro. Through a jointly owned company called Sumic Nickel Netherlands, Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. and Mitsui Co. Ltd. own the remaining 21 per cent interest in the project. CVRD said in March, 2007, the largest nickel mine under construction may take three years to reach full production with costs exceeding its $3 billion budget. The project would be completed in late 2008 with production starting in 2009.
  • Proven and probable reserves (Ontario) 163 million t at 1,24% Ni.
  • Proven and probable reserves (Manitoba) 25 million t at 1,94% Ni.
  • Proven and probable reserves (Voisey's Bay) 32 million t at 2,99% Ni.
  • Proven and probable reserves (Indonesia) 147 million t at 1,80% NI.
  • Proven and probable reserves (New Caledonia) 120 million t at 1,34% Ni.
"Brazil's Vale confirms talks with Xstrata" (Source: Mining Weekly)

Vale continues to challenge OJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel for the title of world's top nickel producer; its output of 260,200 tonnes in 2013 was just 25,000 tonnes short of the 285,000 tonnes produced by the Russian miner. 
  • MMC Norilsk Nickel mines in Russia, Australia, Finland and North America. Norilsk is the largest mining and metals company in Russia and is one of the world's largest producers of nickel, palladium, platinum and copper. It had a market capitalization of $36-billion (U.S.) in 2007 and claimed it was the sixth-largest publicly traded mining company in the world, as measured by market capitalization. Norilsk , on 3 May 2007, offered to buy LionOre Mining International Ltd for about $5.3-billion, topping a competing bid from Xstrata plc. Norilsk offered $21.50 in cash per LionOre share, more than the $18.50-a-share bid Xstrata offered in March 2007. On May 23, 2007, increased an offer for LionOre Mining International Ltd. by 28 percent to C$6.8 billion ($6.3 billion), trumping an improved bid from Xstrata Plc. Norilsk bid C$27.50 a share, up from the C$21.50 it proposed. MMC Norilsk Nickel announced plans in September, 2007, to invest $830 million in its African production assets over the next three years in order to double its nickel output on the continent. The Russian-based company also said that it will invest $445 million together with joint venture partner African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) in the Nkomati nickel mine that the two companies operate together.
    This investment will increase average annual nickel production to 20,500 tonnes from 5,500 tonnes and extend the life of mine by 18 years to 2027, the company said.
  • Oktyabrskiy Mine
  • Komsomolskiy Mine
  • Taymirskiy Mine
  • Severonkel Mine (Kola Peninsula)
  • Perchenganikel Mine (Kola Peninsula)
  • Reserves are reportedly sufficient to support 50 years' output at current rates.
  • Yabulu, Australia (100% ownership) – nickel and cobalt.
  • Processes ore from third party mines in New Caledonia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and produces high-purity nickel and cobalt products that are used in the manufacture of stainless steel, specialty steels, alloys and chemicals. The nickel production capacity is approximately 32,000 t per annum, and the cobalt production capacity is approximately 1,900 t per annum.
  • Cerro Matoso, Colombia, South America (99% ownership) – ferronickel.
  • Produces 50,000 t of contained nickel per year
  • Reserves capable of sustaining the current level of production for at least 20 years.
  • Nickel West, Australia (100% ownership) - nickel and cobalt;
  • Mt Keith Nickel Operation. Located 720 kilometres north east of Perth, the Mt Keith ore body was discovered in 1968 by local pastoralist Jim Jones and lies within the Agnew-Wiluna greenstone belt. Production of nickel concentrate began in October 1994.
  • The deposit is a large, low-grade disseminated sulphide ore body that is open cut mined using conventional drill and blast, load and haul methods. The concentrator uses crushing, grinding and flotation to recover nickel as concentrate. Mt Keith is capable of producing 40, 000 – 50,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate a year.
  • Ore Resource/Reserves: The Mt Keith nickel deposit has an open cut mineral resource of 376 million t; 231 million t are measured, 92 million t indicated and 52 million t inferred at an average grade of 0,52 per cent nickel. There are a further 34 million t on stockpile. Ore Reserves are 250 million t.
  • Leinster Nickel Operation. Leinster, which began production in 1979, is located 645 kilometres north east of Perth. Operations include the Perseverance underground mine, satellite deposits, and a nickel concentrator and dryer. Concentrate produced at Leinster and the nearby Mt Keith Operation is dried at Leinster and transported to Nickel West's Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter. Leinster can produce 40,000 – 45,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate a year. The Leinster Nickel Operation is central to Nickel West's nickel business, with Leinster blending 75 per cent of the company's nickel in concentrate to ensure a quality feed is provided to the Kalgoorlie Smelter.
  • Resource: Leinster has a total mineral resource of 32,6 million t (underground) grading 2,3 per cent nickel and 156 million t (open cut) grading 0,6 per cent.
  • The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter and Concentrator. The Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter and Concentrator consists of the smelter in Kalgoorlie and the concentrator in Kambalda. The concentrator, located 60 kilometres south of Kalgoorlie, processes purchased feed and supplies concentrate to the Kalgoorlie smelter. The Kambalda concentrator is capable of producing up to 45,000 t of nickel in concentrate a year. Opened in 1973, and located just south of Kalgoorlie, the smelter uses a flash smelting method. Dry concentrate is transported from Kambalda and Leinster to the smelter which produces granulated nickel matte, containing about 68 per cent nickel, 2-3 per cent copper and 1 per cent cobalt. The matte is railed to the Kwinana Nickel Refinery or bagged for sale to overseas markets. The Kalgoorlie Smelter is capable of producing 100,000 - 110,000 t of nickel matte a year.
  • Kwinana Nickel Refinery. The Kwinana Nickel Refinery is the world's third largest producer of refined nickel. It is located at Kwinana, about 40 kilometres south of Perth. The refinery began operations in 1970. The nickel produced at the Kwinana originates from nickel sulphide ores mined at Kambalda, Leinster and Mt Keith. The refinery receives the nickel matte from the Kalgoorlie smelter, and produces high-quality nickel briquettes and nickel powder.
  • Kwinana Nickel Refinery is capable of producing 65,000 – 70,000 t of nickel metal a year.
  • Xstrata (Falconbridge) [LSE:XTA] is the world's fourth-largest nickel producer with 2006 output of 107,000 tonnes from operations in Sudbury, Ontario, northern Quebec, the Dominican Republic and Norway, and development projects in the South Pacific and Africa. In a friendly takeover bid announced on 28 October 2007, Xstrata offered to purchase all of the shares of Jubilee Platinum plc for $23 per share. The offer is due to close on February 15, 2008.
  • Raglan mine – Nunavik territory, Québec, Canada
  • Sudbury mines, mill and smelter – Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
  • Montcalm mine – Timmins, Ontario, Canada
  • Nikkelverk refinery – Kristiansand, Norway
  • Falcondo mine and processing plant – Bonao, Dominican Republic
  • Reserves, proven and probable, 2005:
  • Falcondo mine- 54,372 million t at a grade of 1,19% Ni
  • Koniambo mine (New Caledonia)- 62,474 million t at a grade of 2,40% Ni
  • Montcalm mine- 4,507 million t at a grade of 0,68% Ni
  • Raglan mine- 14,850 million t at a grade of 0,77% Ni
  • Sudbury mines- 8,055 million t at a grade of 1,47% Ni
  • Jinchuan Group Ltd is located in Jinchang in Gansu Province, China, where the Jinchuan nickel mine was discovered in 1958. Nickel output was 70,500 t and copper output 131,000t in 2004. The proven ore reserves are 520 million t ; nickel reserves are 5,5 million t, the third largest deposit of its kind in the world, and copper reserves are 3,43 million t, the second largest in China. Cobalt, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, selenium, tellurium, sulfur, chromium, iron, gallium, indium, germanium, thallium and cadmium also occur in the ore-bodies spread over a strike distance of 6,5 km with a width of 500 m. [more]
  • Anglo American's 91.4% held Loma de Niquel in Venezuela is its largest nickel operation. Loma de Niquel produced 16,600 tonnes of nickel in 2006. Anglo's other nickel operation, the wholly owned Codemin, produced 9,800 tonnes in the same year. Loma de Niquel has about 10 times more contained metal than Codemin, with proven and probable laterite reserves of 509,000 tonnes against 49,000 tonnes.
    Anglo is growing its nickel production and it has the $1.2bn Barro Alto project in Brazil, which will produce 36,000 tonnes of nickel from 2011.
  • Rio Tinto is to invest US$300 million in the development of Eagle, a high-grade nickel and copper mine in Michigan, USA. Eagle will be the only primary nickel mine in the US and first production is expected to begin in late 2009. Eagle is projected to deliver 16,000 tonnes of nickel per year over seven years until 2016. It will also produce valuable coproducts of copper, platinum, palladium and cobalt.
    Rio Tinto is also in final contract negotiation to develop a nickel mine at Sulawesi in Indonesia, with an initial operation of 46,000 tonnes per year with first production commencing by 2015.

Nickel mining and exploration in Africa

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Nickel sulphide mineralization, which is associated with pyroxenite sills, and gabbro-hosted mineralisation such as Phoenix, Selkirk and Tekwane, near Francistown.

The Phoenix mineralization is a co-magmatic sulphide deposit hosted by a meta-gabbroic intrusion. Mineralization is comprised of a series of stacked sub-parallel, sub-horizontal, discontinuous massive sulphide lenses, in association with meta-gabbro hosted disseminated sulphides. Mineralogically, the sulphide ore comprises on average 70% pyrrhotite, 20% pentlandite, and 10% chalcopyrite. The tenor of the massive sulphides can be as high as 8% nickel. The mineralization hosts significant Platinum Group Metals (PGM).
In its original form the Selkirk massive sulphide body, located 15 km south of Phoenix, was a shallow (25° to 35°) plunging zone of massive sulphide mineralization approximately 200m long, 100m wide and up to 20m thick. The massive sulphide ore body pinched out at 150m below surface. Mineralogically, the massive sulphide deposit was comprised of approximately 77% pyrrhotite, 10% pentlandite, 10% magnetite and 3% chalcopyrite, and graded approximately 2,6% nickel and 1,6% copper. The sulphide body is surrounded by lower tenor disseminated sulphide mineralization which is open ended down plunge and remains highly prospective.
  • Bamangwato Concessions Limited ( BCL) (Botswana Government-30%) operates the Selebi-Phikwe mine consisting of Phikwe Central, South East Extension, Selebi North and Selebi.
  • Albidon Ltd's Selebi-Phikwe Project comprises twenty contiguous Prospecting Licences covering approximately 17,466 sq km in the eastern part of the Central District of Botswana. The Project covers prospective ground to the west, south and east of the Selebi-Phikwe Nickel Mining District (>1 million t tonnes contained Ni) and includes numerous Ni-Cu occurrences, including the Lipadi Hill deposit. The project falls within the Exploration Cooperation Agreement signed with Western Mining Corporation (WMC) in October 2004, subsequently acquired by BHP Billiton. As part of this Agreement, WMC/BHP funded and operated the project during 2005, and BHP continued to do so in 2006.
  • LionOre Mining International Ltd (Canadian, TSX:LIM; AIM:LOR; ASX:LIM) has an 85% interest in Tati Nickel with the Government of Botswana holding the balance. Tati Nickel comprises the Phoenix open pit nickel mine and the Selkirk underground mine (on care and maintenance) and was formed in 1988. Mining commenced at the Selkirk underground mine in 1989 and at the Phoenix open pit in 1995. LionOre aquired an initial interest in 1996, which was increased to 85% in 2002 following the purchase of Anglo American's 44,5% interest. In 2005 Tati produced 8,581 t of nickel, 6,807 t of copper, 5,007 oz of platinum and 27,965 oz of palladium. LionOre produced 34,100 tonnes of payable nickel at a cost of $3,76 a pound, will increase output to 44,300 tonnes in 2007 at a cash cost of $3,52. It has a forecast price for 2007 of $7,35 a pound. A pre-feasibility study showed potential for an opencast mine at Selkirk to produce 20,000 tonnes of nickel a year for 13 years.
  • Discovery Metals Ltd (Australian) secured the NE Botswana Nickel Project, through a farm-in deal with Falconbridge Exploration (Botswana) Pty Ltd. This project surrounds BCL Limited's three producing nickel sulphide mines in the Selebi-Phikwe region of Botswana. Discovery can earn up to 80% of the project for exploration expenditure of AUD$2,500,000. Nickel mineralization exists on the project at the Dikoloti and Lentswe prospects. Snowden Mining Industry Consultants have completed a resource estimate of the Dikoloti nickel deposit reporting that the mineral resource is 1,2 million tonnes @ 0,84% nickel and 0,46% copper at a nickel cut-off grade of 0,5% and has been classified in the Inferred category according to the 1999 JORC Code. The company announced in February, 2007 commencement of a drilling program to test ten newly identified conductors at the company's Lentswe and Dikoloti prospects.
  • Botswana Metals Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of A-Cap Resources Ltd, control 4500 square kilometres of exploration tenements for nickel and copper between the nickel mines of Selebi Phikwe to the south and Tati to the north. Previous exploration has suggested potentially targets for follow-up drilling.


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The Musongati Ni laterite deposit overlies the 1275 Ma (1.275 billion year old) Mesoproterozoic Mukanda-Buhoro-Musongati layered igneous complex. This complex is one of a number of ultrabasic complexes that were emplaced en-echelon within a 350 km long by 20 to 40 km-wide northeast trending corridor that extends from Burundi into Tanzania. Three nickel laterite deposits are known in Burundi: Musongati, Nyabikere and Waga. Within this corridor is the Kabanga nickel sulphide deposit in Tanzania. Although disseminated, nickel and copper sulphides have been described from rocks underlying the Musongati laterite, the Ni and Cu metal concentrations, found to date, are not significant economically. The Musongati laterites are derived from the weathering of the ultrabasic complex, particularly, serpentinised dunite with a primary nickel content of about 0.3%. Two types of ore are present in approximately equal proportions: limonite and saprolite. Nickel in the limonite ore type is tied to goethite whereas in the saprolite ore type it is related to serpentine group minerals (chrysotile, antigorite) and clay minerals (pimelite and nontronite). The typical weathering profile consists of lateritic soil, canga or cuirasse (iron caprock), limonite zone (averaging 15 m thick), saprolite zone (averaging 12 m thick) and ultrabasic bedrock.
  • Argosy Minerals Inc (Australian) has title to the Musongati laterite Ni project situated in central Burundi, some 85 km east-southeast of Bujumbura. The indicated resource, based on previous exploration, is 28,659,000 t at grade of 1,62% Ni or 464,000 t nickel (0,8% Ni cut-off)
  • Dwyka Diamonds Ltd (Australian) bought the Muremera nickel project in Burundi in an all-share transaction. The price tag on Muremera was a maximum $5m, with an upfront payment of $2m in Dwyka shares. The remaining $3m, also payable in shares is subject to project milestones. Dwyka subsequently announced that BHP Billiton will invest $5,2 million as exploration expenditure in the project, to earn up to 50% interest in Dwyka unit Danyland Ltd, which holds the exploration rights for nickel and associated minerals at Muremera. The Muremera target area is located within 2 km from the Xstrata/Barrick Kabanga Project in Tanzania, one of the largest known undeveloped nickel sulphide deposits in Africa.


  • Geovic Mining Corporation announced that its 60%-owned subsidiary, Geovic Cameroon (GeoCam), planned to resume test pitting in February 2007 and drilling in March 2007 at its cobalt-nickel project in Cameroon. The overall program included 600 shallow drill-holes and test-pits targeted to increase mineral resources and mineral reserves at its Nkamouna and Mada deposits, in Cameroon. The Nkamouna project, the first of seven deposits being developed, contains 26,3 million tons of proven ore reserves and 26,4 million tons of probable ore reserves at average grades of 0,24% cobalt, 0,72% nickel and 1,22% manganese. The project will have the capacity to produce 4 000 t cobalt plus 3 000 t of nickel during the first year of production. The project life is 21 years and GeoCam intends to improve and expand the Nkamouna project infrastructure in the last half of 2007 and start major construction in April 2008. Production is scheduled to start in mid-2009.

Côte d'Ivoire

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  • Mega Uranium Ltd (MGA.T) explored the Mt Kakoulima Cu-Ni-Co-PGM Property in Guinea. The project, located 35-50 km northeast of Conakry, the capital and principal port of Guinea, comprises two contiguous exploration licences (total 298 km2), covering a 30 km strike length of the northern and southern margins of the mafic/ultramafic Kaloum Igneous Complex (KIC). Between 1996 and 2001, previous explorers Semafo/Afcan and Rio Tinto intersected several narrow high grade Ni-Cu-Co-PGM sulphide intervals within a gabbro-pyroxenite unit in the upper part of the KIC. In 2005, drilling continued to intersect sulphide disseminations and blebs in the immediate vicinity of the basal contact within pyroxenite/gabbro plus transitional and brecciated lithologies. Overall, in 2004 and 2005, a total of 9303,5 m was drilled in 23 diamond core holes, 16 on the northern contact zone and 5 in the southern area. Drilling results included 14,7 m @ 0,35% Ni, 0,39% Cu, 0,17 g/t Pt and 0,79 g/t Pd, and maximum values over one metre intervals of 0,45% Ni and 0,47% Cu.
  • FNX Mining Company Inc (AMEX:FNX) (TSX:FNX) announced in February, 2008, that they have signed an option/joint venture agreement with Maple Minerals Corporation (MPM-TSXV) on FNX's recently optioned Mt. Kakoulima Ni-Cu-Co-PGE exploration project in Guinea. Maple will provide the initial exploration funding and FNX will provide the mineral rights along with geological and exploration expertise.


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  • Dynatec Corporation (Canadian, DY.TO) announced on October 30, 2006, the signing of a shareholders agreement for the Ambatovy Nickel Project. Under the agreement, Dynatec has been appointed project operator and will retain a 40% ownership interest. A 27,5% interest in the Project will be held by each of Sumitomo Corporation and Korea Resources Corporation (leading a consortium of Korean enterprises including Daewoo International Corporation, Keangnam Enterprises Ltd. and STX Corporation). SNC-Lavalin Inc. has agreed to acquire a 5% interest in Ambatovy coincident with the closing of the project debt financing. Dynatec will receive US$852 million of financial support from its partners, positioning it to fund its equity requirements for the Project and to meet a significant portion of its guarantee obligations for project debt financing. Ambatovy is among the largest nickel projects under development in the world, with annual design capacity of 60,000 tonnes of nickel and 5,600 tonnes of cobalt. It is anticipated that Ambatovy will be placed near the bottom of the industry cost curve based on expected low nickel production costs. The Ambatovy Project is based on mining two ore bodies that are about three kilometres apart. The Ambatovy and Analamay deposits are both laterite nickel deposits formed by the leaching of the ultramafic portion of a large intrusive complex. The deposits cover an area of about 1300 hectares, with a thickness from 20 to 100 metres (average thickness is approximately 40 metres). More than ninety percent of the deposit is classified as ferralite, some of which is underlain by saprolite. A material type termed low magnesium saprolite (LMS) lies below the ferralite and between the ferralite and saprolite, where the latter is present. Only the ferralite and LMS have been considered in the mine plan. The distribution of the saprolite is erratic; consequently it has been classified as inferred, and is not included in the measured and indicated resource, although its exploitation may prove to be economic. Exploration on the property has occurred in four campaigns: Bureau des Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) in 1962; GENiM, a mining consortium comprising Anglo-American, Société le Nickel, Ugine Kuhlmann, and BRGM in the early 1970s; Phelps Dodge in the mid-1990s; and Dynatec in 2003 and 2004. A total of 1282 diamond drill holes have been drilled representing approximately 55 000 metres of drilling. In addition, sample pits have been dug and appropriate surface mapping completed. Proven and probable mineral reserves are estimated at 125,0 million tonnes at an average grade of 1,04% nickel and 0,099% cobalt; additional low grade ore is estimated at 39,4 million tonnes at a grade of 0,69% nickel and 0,064% cobalt; this low grade ore is scheduled to be stockpiled then reclaimed and processed at the end of the mine life; average ore grade over the first 10 years of the mine plan is estimated at 1,12% nickel and 0,101% cobalt; the mine life is estimated to be 20,5 years, plus 6,5 years of stockpile recovery, giving a total production plan of 27 years; total recoverable metal over the production plan is estimated at 1,34 million tonnes of nickel and 122 000 tonnes of cobalt. Sherritt International Corporation and Dynatec Corporation jointly announced a transaction on April 20, 2007, whereby under a Plan of Arrangement Sherritt will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Dynatec for a total value of C$1.6 billion.
  • Diamond Fields International Ltd announced on 9 May, 2007, that it had exercised its option to acquire the rights to the Valozoro nickel property in Madagascar and owned 100% of these exploration rights which are valid until May 2011. The Valozoro nickel deposit is located 60 kilometres north of the town of Fianarantsoa in south central Madagascar and is reported in the Catalogue des Principaux Gites Mineraux de Madagascar (Catalogue of Principal Mineral Deposits of Madagascar). During 1956 and 1957, UGINE completed an extensive prospecting program and reported an estimated resource of 3.7 million tons of lateritic ore (derived from an altered peridotite host) grading 1,75% nickel containing 65,000 tonnes of contained nickel metal.
  • Jubilee Platinum plc reported encouraging results in October, 2007, from the most recent borehole drilled on the Antsahabe prospect, in the northern area of its Londokomanana property, in Madagascar.
    The borehole intersected 32 m of continuous nickel copper and sulphide mineralization at a shallow 30 m depth from the surface.
    The Londokomanana project is a joint venture with TransAsia Minerals Limited, which has the right to earn in 51% of the project, by spending $7-million.


  • Albidon Ltd has been exploring the Mpemba (Hill) Nickel Project, located in southern Malawi, about 20 km to the southwest of the city of Blantyre. The project area is underlain by mafic intrusive rocks that contain disseminations and clots of nickel sulphides at many localities, in addition to a nickel and copper soil geochemical anomaly that extends over an area greater than 3 sq km. There are historical reports of rock samples yielding assay results of up to 2,9% Ni and 2,7g/t Pt, along strike to the northwest.
  • Lisungwe plc is exploring nickel mineralization associated with ferrochrome/magnetite at Chimimbe and Chimwadzulu in southern Malawi.


  • Zambezi Nickel Ltd is exploring the Mavita Project comprising two prospecting licences, LPP 1045 and LPP 1046, located in the Manica province of central western Mozambique. The geological setting of the Mavita Project area places it within the eastward extension of the Archaean Zimbabwean Craton and includes several areas of significant aeromagnetic and stream sediment geochemical nickel anomalies, coincident with mapped ultramafic lithologies. None of these anomalies have been drill tested to date.

South Africa

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Anglo Platinum produces around 30,000 tonnes of nickel per year as a by-product from its platinum mining operations and Impala Platinum 14,000 tonnes.

The Uitkomst complex (Nkomati nickel mine) comprises three disseminated sulphide mineralized zones, namely the Basal Mineralized Zone (BMZ), Main Mineralized Zone (MMZ) and the Chromititic Pyroxenite Mineralized Zone (PCMZ). At the base of the Uitkomst complex, another sulphide orebody, Massive Sulphide Body (MSB), occurs.

  • LionOre Mining International Ltd (Canadian, LIM.TO, LMGGF.PK) operates the Nkomati nickel mine situated in the Mpumalanga province in the northeast of South Africa, some 300 km east of Johannesburg. African Rainbow Minerals Limited (ARM) has a 50% interest. Nkomati Nickel comprises the producing Nkomati massive sulphide body (MSB) nickel mine, a lower-grade disseminated orebody and a chrome operation. The operating MSB mine is one of the lowest cash cost nickel mines in the world. The MSB currently produces 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of nickel annually, with significant by-products including copper (2,800 tonnes), palladium (22,000 ounces) and platinum (7,000 ounces). ( In 2005, Nkomati produced 5,291 tonnes of nickel as well as 3,260 tonnes of copper and 97 tonnes of cobalt.) The operation is expected to continue at current production levels until early 2008. The interim expansion project will maintain production and bridge the gap between the depletion of the MSB (due in early 2008) and the proposed major expansion projects, planned to start construction in 2009 with full production forecast in 2012.The interim expansion project anticipates mining the disseminated Main Mineralized Zone (MMZ) orebody with commissioning planned for September 2007 and full production, at an annualized rate of 5,000 tonnes of payable nickel, expected by the end of 2007. The current project life is approximately 10 years unless incorporated into the Phase 2 Expansion. Nkomati's low grade disseminated orebody offers significant expansion potential. The expansion projects are targeting approximately 20,00 t per annum of nickel with a life of mine to beyond 2020. Expansion capital would be split equally between LionOre and ARM. A feasibility study is currently underway and is due for completion mid-2007. LionOre and ARM are also building a 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes/year smelting and refining facility for their Nkomati nickel development using Activox, a type of hydrometallurgy that is much cheaper than conventional smelting technology and able to treat low grade concentrate.


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The Kabanga deposits are hosted in small mafic-ultramafic intrusives that are part of the Meso-Proterozoic Kibaran Orogenic Belt of Central Africa. Mineralization comprises pentlandite, chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite ranging from net textured to massive sulphide. The Luwumbu area contains a number of mafic and ultramafic intrusions in a zone that is at least 160km in length. This area of Southwest Tanzania has the most extensive outcrop of rocks interpreted to form part of the same geological province as the host rocks to the Kabanga nickel deposits in the northwest of the country. The Kabanga nickel deposit was discovered by the United Nations during the 1970s following a comprehensive geochemical and geophysical program that identified a chain of coincident airborne magnetic and geochemical anomalies within a 20-30 kilometre wide northeasterly trending belt that extends for over 200 kilometres from Burundi in the south, through western Tanzania, to Uganda in the north.

The Nachingwea prospect is situated within the Proterozoic age Mozambique Belt to the southeast of the Archean Tanzanian craton and is underlain by a heterogeneous assemblage of mafic to felsic granulites and gneisses, amphibolites, sedimentary rocks and ultramafic to felsic intrusives. All lithologies have been complexly deformed and metamorphosed to amphibolite and granulite grade. Nickel sulphide mineralization is associated with pyroxenitic ultramafic rocks and the sulphides occur as both disseminations and blebs within the intrusions as well as massive remobilized veins. The high nickel grade massive sulphides consist primarily of pyrrhotite and coarse grained pentlandite with subordinate chalcopyrite and minor magnetite.

  • In 2005, Falconbridge acquired a 50% indirect interest in the Kabanga nickel project in Tanzania from Barrick, which retains the remainder. Falconbridge is the operator of the joint venture. The project is located in northwestern Tanzania, south of Lake Victoria and near the Burundi and Rwanda borders. The current estimated inferred resource is 26,4 million tonnes grading 2,6% nickel based on estimates released by Barrick (February 2003). Xstrata Nickel, a subisidiary of the London-listed mining firm, said in February, 2007, it would spend $95m completing a prefeasbility study of Kabanga nickel. Xstrata also said Kabanga had an estimated indicated resource of 9,7 million tonnes of nickel grading at 2,37% nickel and a total estimated inferred resource of 36,3 million tonnes grading 2,8% nickel.
  • Albidon Ltd is involved in the the Luwumbu Project, situated in the Livingstone Mountains of southwestern Tanzania, which is owned 90% by Goldstream Mining NL and 10% by Albidon. In June 2003 an agreement was signed whereby Lonmin plc may earn a 70% interest in the project by sole funding a Feasibility Study on an Indicated Mineral Resource. The Songea Project comprises five Prospecting Licences in SW Tanzania covering an area of 4,093 sq km, and is part of the Albidon-BHP Billiton Africa Exploration Cooperation Agreement. Published geological maps indicate that rocks in the Songea Project are similar to those on the Luwumbu Project, along strike to the north, where significant platinum mineralization has been identified.
  • Goldstream Mining NL is exploring the Nachingwea Project (Goldstream 100%) which consists of four granted tenements totaling 7,300 square kilometers, located in south eastern Tanzania. Follow up of historic drainage anomalies has located two ultramafic trends. Orientation soil sampling over the ‘Nditi’ pyroxenite returned highly anomalous values of 6,932ppm Cu, 7,760ppm Ni and 1,2g/t PGE. The body appears to extend over 5 by 2 km. The company has announced announced plans to divest its Nachingwea nickel-copper project in a $12 million to $17 million initial public offer on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The ASX listed Goldstream will spin-off its Continental Nickel Ltd subsidiary, but will maintain a 51 per cent stake in the company, as well as a 25 per cent free carry through to the completion of a feasibility study or until CNI incurs a minimum level of expenditure. Continental will also have the right to acquire further nickel projects, with at least $8.6 million in IPO proceeds being committed to proposed exploration of the site. Continental Nickel Ltd is now exploring the Nachingwea Project. The project is 70:30 joint venture between Continental Nickel and Goldstream Mining NL and Continental is the project operator. The land holding comprises 17 granted prospecting licences totalling 3,199 sq km with an additional 25 licence applications totalling 4,814 sq km pending. During the period 2004 to 2006, Goldstream carried out field programs on the Nachingwea property comprising surface sampling, a small VTEM survey, ground geophysics and drilling (17 holes totaling 2,153 m). This work culminated in a significant new greenfields nickel sulphide discovery in June 2006 when drillhole NAD13 intersected 11.23% Ni, 1.74% Cu and 0.15% Co over 3.0m including 15.87% Ni, 2.61% Cu, 0.21% Co, 0.49 g/t Pt and 0.32 g/t Pd over 1.68m. This mineralization was intersected at a vertical depth of 65m at the contact between ultramafic and metasedimentary lithologies. Eleven other holes returned significant (>0.5%) nickel values from the mineralized intercepts over core widths of 0.5 to 23.0 m. Previous work by other companies included mapping, trenching and drilling (6 holes totaling 1,302m) by INCO during the period 1950-1953 and a regional magnetic/radiometric airborne survey and stream/soil sediment sampling by BHP between 1996 and 1998.
  •  African Eagle Resources Plc has more than doubled the size of the resource estimate at its Dutwa nickel project in Tanzania, the firm said on 15 June 2010..
    "This is a significant step forward in our feasibility work at Dutwa," Managing Director Mark Parker said in a statement.
    "The new resource estimate exceeds our expectations, tripling the tonnage and more than doubling the contained nickel equivalent from 345,000 to 845,000 tonnes." Tests by consultants also show that the nickel laterite deposit has favourable characteristics for processing, it added.
    "Metallurgical tests have shown that the Dutwa ore is unusually, perhaps uniquely, amenable to acid leaching, with very low acid consumption and a very fast leach reaction compared to other nickel laterites around the world," the firm said.
    A preliminary study in July 2009 found that operating earnings over the life of mine would be about $2.3 billion, giving an internal rate of return of around 25 percent.
    The company, listed in London and Johannesburg, is currently working on a definitive feasibility study.


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  • Vangold Resources Ltd (Canadian, VNGRF.PK, VAN.V) has 287 sq km in the Kafunzo area which is located on the Tanzania border, north of the Kabanga nickel/cobalt deposit and is investigating a promising aeromagnetic anomaly.


  • Albidon Ltd has been exploring the Munali Nickel Project, located 60 kilometres south of Lusaka , the capital of Zambia. The Enterprise nickel deposit at Munali contains resources (as announced on 31 May 2006) of 8,0 million t at 1,4% Ni and 0,9 g/t PGM containing 109,000t of Ni and 223,000 oz of PGM (at a 0,7% Ni cutoff) of which 6,9 million t t at 1,4% Ni is classified as Indicated Mineral Resource.The project is designed to produce approximately 8,500 tonnes per annum of nickel in concentrate from a 900,000 t per annum underground mining operation. In addition to the resource drilling at Enterprise , a systematic approach to drilling of the Munali Intrusion has been adopted. This had success with the discovery of the Voyager prospect approximately 750m north of Enterprise. The geological setting of the mineralization intersected along the southwestern side of the Munali Intrusion is consistent, with the same controls on nickel sulphides over the entire length of the intrusion (over 2,5km). On 8 December 2006, Jinchuan , China's largest nickel refiner, said it had agreed to invest about $100m in the Munali Nickel project and has signed an off-take agreement for the nickel produced from Munali.
  • Zambezi Nickel Ltd is exploring the Mitaba Hill, Mitaba Hill East, Mitaba West and Paulwi prospects, previously explored, trenched and drilled by Zamanglo in the 1960’s. The Mitaba project occupies a total strike length of 11 kilometres, within which occur at least two main complexes of successive ultramafic komatiite lava flows, 3,3 kilometres apart. The pear-shaped Paulwi intrusion is interpreted to have been gravity-differentiate into a gabbroic upper portion of 3,000 metres depth and basal serpentinised dunite portion of 2,000 metres depth. Zambezi Nickel has changed its name to Lithic Metals & Energy, the firm said on 26 September, 2007. The Aim stock exchange trading code will change from ZNI to LMY effective immediately. “The change of name reflects the diversification of Lithic Metals & Energy into the mineral energy sector and underscores the aspirations of the board of directors and myself to develop the company into a major mining house,” MD Jim Kerr said in a statement.


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  • Mwana Africa plc acquired a controlling stake in Bindura Nickel Corporation from Anglo American Corporation of Zimbabwe in July 2003. Bindura is listed on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange. Bindura operates two nickel mines: Shangani which is 100 km from Bulawayo on the Harare road and Trojan which is near the town of Bindura, about 100km north east of Harare. Both mines produce concentrates which are processed at the smelter and refinery at Bindura. Bindura produces about 11,000 tonnes of refined nickel per annum of which about 7,000 tonnes are own production and the balance is toll material from Botswana and South Africa. The mine lives at Shangani and Trojan are currently estimated to be approximately four years and nine years respectively (52,440 t proved and probable reserve and 210,950 t measured,indicated and inferred resources.) The Trojan shaft is currently being deepened by some 600 metres to access new reserves which are open at depth, which potentially will extend the life of the mine for up to 10 further years. The Shangani mine is open at depth to a limited extent and a study is currently underway to determine how best to extend the shaft system to access its additional resources. Bindura has also completed a feasibility study on the Hunters Road claim, between Kwekwe and Gweru, which will extend the mine's lifespan to 2022. Hunters Road has up to 30 million tonnes of ore.