Ore moving along
the conveyor at
ARM’s Nkomati
nickel mine.
 
Lisbon, Portugal — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 April 2009 – The international production and consumption of primary refined nickel are expected to decline even further this year, continuing last year’s trend on the back of the unfolding global economic crisis.

These details emerged after a meeting here of the International Nickel Study Group (INSG), attended by 60 representatives of various governments and the nickel industry.
 
A press release issued after the meeting said world primary nickel usage in 2008 had started strongly, but as the global economic crisis had unfolded, demand and production of stainless steel had declined from the middle of the year – particularly in the last quarter. These conditions had continued to apply and it remained unlikely that any substantial improvement would take place this year. No recovery in primary nickel demand and stainless steel production was anticipated until at least the second half of 2009.

The release revealed that world production of 1.42 Mt in 2007 had declined to 1.39 Mt in 2008. A
 further decline of almost 10% to 1.26Mt was expected in 2009, it added.

Turning to world primary nickel consumption, the release said it had dropped from 1.31 Mt in 2007 to 1.29 Mt last year, and a further decrease of 8.5% to 1.18 Mt was predicted for 2009. This meant that there would be a market surplus of around 80 000t in 2009, compared to a surplus of 100 000 last year.

“The INSG recognises that the current global economic crisis has created a large degree of uncertainty in the global market, and that its impacts on both the supply and demand for nickel are not fully known. We caution that future market developments could significantly alter the forward-looking market balance,” it warned.

Caption, Pic 1: Ore moving along the conveyor at ARM’s Nkomati nickel mine.