01Vale - 275,000 tonnes
By increasing refined nickel output over 30 percent since 2011, Vale of Brazil claimed the title as world's largest nickel producer in 2014. A title long held by this year's number two, Norilsk Nickel. Vale's main nickel assets are concentrated in Canada and include mines in Ontario's Sudbury Basin, Voisey's Bay, Labrador and Thompson, Manitoba.
Company Profile: Vale SA
Company Website: www.vale.com
02Norilsk Nickel - 274,247 tonnes
Refined nickel production of long-time number one Norilsk Nickel fell by about four percent in 2014. Norilsk, who is the world's largest palladium producer, as well as one of the largest producers of platinum and copper, has two main Russian production facilities: (1) The Polar Division, which is located on the Taimyr Peninsula, and (2), the Kola Mining and Metallurgical Company, based in Russia's Murmansk region.
03BHP Billiton - 143,000 tonnes
BHP Billiton's nickel production in 2014 remained mostly unchanged from a year earlier at 143,000 tons. The global commodity producer, whose assets include iron ore, metallurgical coal, copper and uranium, mines and refines nickel at Nickel West in Western Australia and the Cerro Matoso mine in Colombia.
04Jinchuan Group - 128,000 tonnes (est.)
Jinchuan Group is China's largest nickel producer, as well as one of the countries largest producers of cobalt, copper, and platinum group metals. Based in Gansu Province, the company produces electrolytic nickel as well as salts for the nickel-plating industry primarily from ores that are imported.
Company Website: www.jnmc.com
05Glencore - 100,900 tonnes
Global commodities trader-cum producer Glencore has a number of nickel assets that include the Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations and Raglan Mine in Canada. In Norway, the Nikkelverk refinery is a low-cost producer of high purity nickel. While the company also owns the Koniambo mining and processing complex in New Caledonia and the Murrin Murrin refining facility in Western Australia.
Company Website: www.glencore.com
06Sumitomo Metals & Mining - 75,000 tonnes
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. (SMM) is a major smelter and refiner of copper, nickel, and gold in Japan. As Japan does not have naturally occurring nickel deposits, ores must be imported for processing. SMM's nickel assets include investments in nickel mines and smelters in the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. Nickel ores are refined at the Niihama Nickel Refinery in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, and the Ambatovy Project in Madagascar.
Company Website: www.smm.co.jp
07Anglo American - 65,400 tonnes
The global commodities behemoth Anglo American is also one of the world's top ten biggest nickel producers. The company's 65,400 metric tons of attributable refined nickel production in 2014 represented a nearly 15 percent increase over a year prior. The company operated two primaries in 2014 represented a nearly 15 percent increase over the previous year. The company operates two primary nickel assets Brazil but also extracts nickel as a by-product of its platinum mining in South Africa.
Company Profile: Anglo American plc
Company Website: www.angloamerican.com
08Eramet - 55,012 tonnes
The French multinational mining and metallurgical company Eramet is heavily involved in both nickel and manganese mining and refining. Nickel is mined in New Caledonia and processed into ferronickel and nickel matte at the company's Doniambo plant. High-purity nickel and nickel salts are then produced from the matte at the company's Sandouville plant in France.
Company Website: www.eramet.fr/us
09Queensland Nickel - 34,000 tonnes (est.)
Queensland Nickel is the owner and operator of the Palmer Nickel and Cobalt Refinery, located northwest of Queensland, Australia. Nickel and cobalt laterite ores sourced from New Caledonia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are processed by the company, which is wholly-owned by Clive Palmer.
Company Website: www.qni.com.au
10Sherritt International - 31,275 tonnes
Sherritt International is a Canadian-based company that operates the Moa Joint Venture in Cuba as well as the Ambatovy Joint Venture in Madagascar. In 2014, the company's refined nickel output reached 31,275 tons of attributable production, an increase of roughly 15 percent from 2013.
Company Website: www.sherritt.com
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The 10 Biggest Nickel Producers of 2014
The world's top ten nickel refiners 2014
Nearly two million tons of nickel was refined in 2014. This represented a slight increase over the total for 2013 despite the government of Indonesia banning exports of unprocessed nickel ores early in the year.
The result of this ban was an increase in exports from the Philippines, the world's largest source of nickel-bearing ores.
In response to supply concerns, nickel prices steadily climbed for the first half of the year, peaking at US$ 19,434 per metric ton in May before falling closer to US$ 16,000 per ton by the end of the year.
The world's ten largest producers of refined nickel accounted for approximately 55 percent of global output in 2014.
The long-reigning largest producer, Norilsk Nickel, fell just short of Vale SA who took the title as world's largest nickel refiner for the year. Each accounted for nearly 14 percent of global production.
Production numbers for each company shown below have been taken from corporate annual reports, save for Jinchuan Group and Queensland Nickel, which are based on estimates. Total refined nickel production numbers can be found beside the company's name and are indicated in metric tons.