Download our nickel fact sheets to learn more about this versatile metal. Find out about the properties of nickel, what it's used for, and how we think it will shape the future of demand for electric vehicles.
Nickel is a naturally-occurring metallic element with a silvery/white lustrous metal and a light golden tinge.
There are two main types of nickel deposits in the world, laterite and sulphide, requiring different techniques to extract the nickel.
Nickel sulphide and laterite ore is used to make nickel metal, predominantly for the production of stainless steel as well as nickel sulphate, a key ingredient in the batteries that drive electric vehicles.
More than two thirds of global nickel production is used to produce stainless steel. It is the addition of nickel that enables stainless steel to become such a versatile alloy.
Food and health
Home appliances, kitchen materials and medical instruments.
Process plants, oil and gas, power generation and chemical production.
Structural applications and reinforcement in concrete.
Cars, trains and the aerospace industry.
Mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras.
Lithium-ion batteries and energy storage systems linked to renewable energy sources.
Nickel makes a vital contribution to the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
A 60kwh NMC811 battery needs 9kg of cobalt, 11kg of lithium and 70kg of nickel.
When the battery has more nickel, the vehicle can drive for longer.
What is the future for nickel?
Nickel is a vital part of the batteries that drive electric cars.
More people around the world are choosing to drive electric cars and the world is going to need more of the essential elements that make up a nickel-rich lithium-ion battery.
Nickel West is a fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business in Western Australia.
Nickel sulphide ore is mined at BHP’s open-cut and underground operations in the Northern Goldfields before it is crushed and concentrated at two large nickel concentrators using nickel sulphide flotation technology.
The nickel concentrate is then dried and railed to the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter where it’s continuously fed to a flash furnace. The furnace process produces a granulated matte product containing approximately 68% nickel.
It’s then railed to Kwinana Nickel Refinery where it is converted to nickel metal in the form of powder and briquettes, at 99.8% nickel grade.
Nickel matte and metal are exported to overseas markets via the Port of Fremantle.
Nickel sulphide deposits can be found all over the world including Western Australia, South Africa, Canada and Russia.
Nickel laterite deposits can be found in countries such as Australia, Indonesia, New Caledonia and the Philippines.