|Written by Administrator|
|Wednesday, 19 January 2011 12:14|
U.S.Geological Survey (USGS): Nickel
Statistics and Information: Nickel (Ni) is a transition element that exhibits a mixture of ferrous and nonferrous metal properties. It is both siderophile (i.e., associates with iron) and chalcophile (i.e., associates with sulfur). The bulk of the nickel mined comes from two types of ore deposits:
Nickel is primarily sold for first use as refined metal (cathode, powder, briquet, etc.) or ferronickel. About 65% of the nickel consumed in the Western World is used to make austenitic stainless steel. Another 12% goes into superalloys (e.g., Inconel 600) or nonferrous alloys (e.g., cupronickel). Both families of alloys are widely used because of their corrosion resistance. The aerospace industry is a leading consumer of nickel-base superalloys. Turbine blades, discs and other critical parts of jet engines are fabricated from superalloys. Nickel-base superalloys are also used in land-based combustion turbines, such those found at electric power generation stations. The remaining 23% of consumption is divided between alloy steels, rechargeable batteries, catalysts and other chemicals, coinage, foundry products, and plating. The principal commercial chemicals are the carbonate (NiCO3), chloride (NiCl2), divalent oxide (NiO), and sulfate (NiSO4). In aqueous solution, the divalent nickel ion has an emerald-green color.
U.S. Domestic Production and Use: The United States did not have any active nickel mines in 2008. Limited amounts of byproduct nickel were recovered from copper and palladium-platinum ores mined in the Western United States. On a monthly or annual basis, 110 facilities reported nickel consumption. The principal consuming State was Pennsylvania, followed by Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Approximately 52% of the primary nickel consumed went into stainless and alloy steel production, 34% into nonferrous alloys and superalloys, 10% into electroplating, and 4% into other uses. End uses were as follows: transportation, 30%; chemical industry, 15%; electrical equipment, 10%; construction, 9%; fabricated metal products, 8%; household appliances, 8%; petroleum industry, 7%; machinery, 6%; and other, 7%. The estimated value of apparent primary consumption was $2.70 billion.
U.S. Recycling: About 77,300 tons of nickel was recovered from purchased scrap in 2008. This represented about 38% of reported secondary plus apparent primary consumption for the year.
U.S. Import Sources(2004-07): Canada, 43%; Russia, 15%; Norway, 10%; Australia, 8%; and other, 24%.
U.S. Depletion Allowance: 22% (Domestic), 14% (Foreign).
U.S. Government Stockpile: The U.S. Government sold the last of the nickel in the National Defense Stockpile in 1999.The U.S. Department of Energy is holding 8,800 tons of nickel ingot contaminated by low-level radioactivity plus 5,100 tons of contaminated shredded nickel scrap. Planned decommissioning activities at former nuclear defense sites are expected to generate an additional 20,000 tons of nickel in shredded scrap.
Events, Trends, and Issues: Although slightly lower than that of 2007, world nickel mine production was at a relatively high level in 2008 despite the global financial crisis. Stainless steel accounted for two-thirds of primary nickel use, with more than one-half of the steel going into the construction, food processing, and transportation sectors. U.S. production of austenitic (nickel-bearing) stainless steel slipped to 1.35 million tons in 2007, 21% less than the record-high 1.71 million tons in 2006. China was the leading consumer of nickel, with an estimated apparent consumption of 348,000 tons in 2007. China produced 5.52 million tons of austenitic stainless steel in 2007, exceeding the combined output of Japan and the United States. Nickel prices peaked at unprecedented levels in mid-2007, but gradually declined during the next 18 months as the world economy weakened. In October 2008, the London Metal Exchange cash mean for 99.8%-pure nickel averaged $12,133 per metric ton ($5.50 per pound), down 61% from the mean in October 2007.
World Mine Production, Reserves, and Reserve Base: Estimates of the reserves and reserve base for Australia and Colombia, and for Spain (included in “Other countries”), were revised based on new mining industry information.
World Resources: Identified land-based resources averaging 1% nickel or greater contain at least 130 million tons of nickel. About 60% is in laterites and 40% in sulfide deposits. In addition, extensive deep-sea resources of nickel are in manganese crusts and nodules covering large areas of the ocean floor, particularly in the Pacific Ocean.
Substitutes: To offset high nickel prices, engineers have begun substituting low-nickel, duplex, or ultrahighchromium stainless steels for austenitic grades in a few construction applications. Nickel-free specialty steels are sometimes used in place of stainless steel within the power generating and petrochemical industries. Titanium alloys or specialty plastics can substitute for nickel metal or nickel-base alloys in highly corrosive chemical environments. Cost savings in manufacturing lithium ion batteries allow them to compete against NiMH in certain applications.
(e) Estimated Withheld to avoid disclosing company proprietary data. — Zero