Nickel is a metal that is found in light gold and silver color. It is not found in pure form in nature, it occurs mostly in the form of oxides, sulfites and silicates together with iron and cobalt.


Nickel is found in two types of mineral deposits, lateritic and sulfitic, in the world. Different methods are required for nickel recovery from these deposits. In our country, nickel deposits in Manisa-Gördes, Uşak-Banaz, Bolu-Mudurnu-Akçaalan, Eskişehir-Mihalıççık-Yunus Emre are lateritic type deposits, while in Bitlis-Pancarlı, Bursa-Orhaneli, Sivas-Divriği and Hatay-Dörtyol are sulfide deposits. Nickel is indispensible for modern industry because of its chemical and physical properties. 70% of the nickel produced in the world is used in the production of stainless steel. As an end product, it is a highly equipped material used in the construction, automotive, petrochemical, manufacturing, energy and renewable energy, electronics industries.


Figure 1: Usage areas of nickel by sectors


Nickel is an alloy metal. According to the World Nickel Institute; approximately 66% of the nickel produced is used in the production of stainless steel, and is used to make corrosion-resistant alloys. There are alloys made with copper, chrome, aluminum, lead, cobalt, silver and gold. Nickel is used in the construction of engine parts (gas turbines, jet engines, etc.) due to its durability at very high and very low temperatures. Today, nickel is used in approximately 300 thousand products such as in the transport, aerospace, marine and construction industries, architectural applications, medical devices and coin production.


The total of the world metal nickel reserves is 100 million tons. About 40% of this is found in sulfide deposits and 60% in lateritic deposits. The most important known nickel deposits are in Australia, Brazil, Russia, New Caledonia, Cuba, Philippines and Indonesia (USGS,2023) ;(World Mining Data, 2020)


According to the 2023 data included in the report of the American Geological Survey (USGS, Mineral Commodity Summaries, 2023); the countries with the highest nickel reserves are Indonesia (21 million tons), Australia (21 million tons), Brazil (16 million tons), Russia (7,5 million tons), New Caledonia (7,1 million tons) (USGS,2023).


Looking at the world nickel production in recent years, it is seen that the nickel production has increased continuously.


Total nickel production in the world is 3.3 million tons in 2022.


Figure 2: Annual world nickel production


According to the data of 2022 included in the 2023 report of the American Geological Survey (USGS, Mineral Commodity Summaries), 1,600,000 tons of nickel was produced in Indonesia, which is the leading nickel producer, 330,000 tons in the Philippines, and 220,000 tons in Russia. In addition, 190,000 tons of nickel was produced  in New Caledonia, 160,000 tons in Australia, 130,000 tons in Canada, 110,000 tons in China and 83,000 tons in Brazil (USGS,2023).


China, whose industry and economy has developed strongly, has become an important nickel producer and consumer in recent years.


Economic and exploitable nickel formations are Manisa-Çaldağ, Manisa-Gördes and Eskişehir-Mihalıççık-Yunus Emre mines. Since the ores in other regions are of low grade, their operation is currently not economical. Private sector initiatives, which started with the rapid rise in nickel prices in the 2000s, have brought momentum to nickel mining.


Figure 3: Nickel production in Türkiye for the last 10 years (MAPEG,2023)


January-December 2019 average nickel price remained below US$15,000/ton and fell back to US$10,000/ton in 2020. Parallel to the rise in commodity prices after the Covid-19 outbreak, it increased in 2021-2023 and exceeded US$ 25,000/ton levels (London Metal Exchange,2023).


Figure 4: Nickel price history


It can be thought that nickel will continue as an important metal within the framework of increasing electricity use and increasing demand for electric vehicles. Considering the critical raw materials studies of the European Union and the United States, this prediction becomes even stronger.


Date of Update: 22 June 2023

The details presented here have been prepared with the aim of informing the users of the website of our Ministry, and do not possess the characteristics of official binding documents.