25 Mar 2024

The 411 on nickel

2 minutes read


Given its name from Kupfernickel, after the German ‘Old Nick’, nickel is a natural element that makes up about 0.007% of the earth’s crust and is one of the most useful elements in the world.

Take a look at these interesting facts that support the widespread popularity and practicality of the silvery metal, which plays an important role in our everyday lives:

Things to know about nickel

Nickel-containing ores are currently mined in more than 25 countries worldwide including Canada, Australia, Russia and Indonesia and have some interesting physical and chemical properties. Nickel is adaptable, resilient and recyclable, making it a diverse metal used in hundreds of thousands of products across various industries.

Applications of nickel

The most common application is used in alloying (a process that combines nickel with other substances to create a new metal with superior properties).

When combined with iron and other metals, nickel is used to make strong magnets. When combined with sulphur, it produces nickel sulphide (our Kambalda operations produce some of the highest-grade nickel sulphide in the world, while our Eagle’s Nest Project is one of the best, undeveloped high-grade nickel sulphide deposits).

The largest end use of nickel is to make stainless steel – take a quick look around your home and you will find stainless steel used in appliances, cutlery and other shiny surfaces. Other applications for nickel are to make coins, guitar strings and even armour.

Nickel has long been used in batteries, most commonly in nickel cadmium batteries (think, Energizer brand) and nickel metal hydride batteries (the rechargeable ones).

More and more, however, nickel is being used in the production of batteries designed for electric vehicles. With ongoing innovations in nickel-based battery technology, energy storage systems are experiencing notable enhancements, providing greater energy density and storage capabilities at a lower cost.

Today, nickel takes centre stage as the world continues to push for energy efficiency and to meet decarbonisation commitments. With nickel improving the performance and range of EVs, sustainable, high-grade nickel plays a critical role in the scaling up of clean energy and a more sustainable future.