Nickel in our lives
Nickel plays an important part in society, and its many properties make essential technologies, products and processes possible.
It has a high melting point and high resistance to corrosion and oxidation. It is also soft and magnetic at room temperature. Nickel is used in more than 300,000 products for consumers, industry, pharmaceuticals, energy, transport, space, marine, architectural and many other applications. The global supply of nickel from mines is around 2.4 Mtonnes. No less than 70 percent of all nickel produced is used in stainless steel.¹)
Stainless steel plays an important part in today’s society with its wide range of important consumer and industrial products and applications. On the consumer side, cookware, sinks and cutlery are typical examples of everyday products in which stainless steel is a central component.
A new, growing application for nickel is its use in rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles and stationary storage. The demand for nickel in this technology is anticipated to grow significantly over the next 10 years. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is the primary driving force behind this development.
Another minor but extremely important area of use for nickel, with its superior resistance to corrosion and its ability to withstand high temperatures, is in super alloys used in aircraft jet engines. In common with most metals, nickel can be recycled an unlimited number of times. Approximately 68 percent¹) of all nickel in consumer products is recycled.
NICKEL AND BOLIDEN
Boliden produces two intermediate products, nickel matte and raw nickel sulphate. Both are produced in Harjavalta from nickel concentrate. Annual production of nickel in matte is between approximately 25,000 and 35,000 tonnes. Boliden’s mine in Kevitsa accounts for half of the concentrate, and the rest comes from external suppliers. Nickel matte is sold globally for further processing into pure metal. Raw nickel sulphate is a by-product from copper production in Rönnskär and Harjavalta, where Boliden produces around 1,500–2,000 tonnes annually.
1) Source: Nickel Institute