Nickel Ore

Nickel ore in the Philippines and Indonesia

The Philippines and Indonesia are the major suppliers of nickel ore cargoes. For the Philippines, the popular loading areas are Surigao, Tubay and Davao where the traditional dry season is usually from November to April. However, global warming and fluctuations in weather patterns have long since extended the rainy season and shortened the traditional ‘dry season’.

Like the Philippines, the dry season for loading in Indonesia at ports such as Buli, Gebe and Pomalaa runs from November to April, but this too has been curtailed due to changing weather patterns.

One major difference between the nickel ore loading industries in these two countries is, however, that while IG Clubs have been able to establish close connections with their approved and qualified local correspondents/surveyors in the Philippines throughout the years, such connections remain less developed in Indonesia since the ban of nickel ore exports in 2014. This ban was only lifted in 2017. It will therefore take time to establish the same intelligence level as in the Philippines.

Always used as an alloy, in combination with other metals, and seldom used alone, nickel alloys exhibit some unique properties that are absent in pure metals. Mostly used to manufacture stainless steel, nickel provides its strength and anti-corrosive property.

Also, for steel that is made to be less magnetic, nickel forms the main ingredient. Its ability to withstand high temperatures has made it a significant component in super alloys and specialty steels such as those used in jet engines.

Nickel alloys are also used in industrial gas turbines, heat exchangers in power plants, resistance wires, electric-vehicle batteries and furnace components. One of its most common uses is nickel plating.

Indonesia is the top nickel producing country, followed by the Philippines.

Reserves of the metal are estimated at 94 million tones globally, with Indonesia and Australia among the countries holding the world’s largest nickel reserves.

Significant nickel deposits are also believed to be present in metallic nodules that are found in the deep sea, which are estimated to be over 290 million tones. Access to these can only be made possible with the future development of deep-sea mining technologies.

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