NEW YORK Canadian mining companies North American Nickel Inc. (NAN) and Royal Nickel Corp. said they expect Chinese nickel demand to double by the end of the decade, fueling nickel prices and increasing the viability of their projects in Greenland and Quebec, the companies told investors during presentations Oct. 16.
North American Nickel and Royal Nickel forecast a 1-million-tonne growth in annual Chinese nickel demand between 2010 and 2020a projected 1.6 million tonnes a year by 2020, up from 581,000 tonnes in 2010, according to Royal Nickel.
The companies said they anticipate a nickel supply deficit in the second half of the decade due to such demand, which will benefit NANs Maniitsoq project in Greenland and Royal Nickels Dumont project in Quebec.
"The fundamental issue facing the nickel industry by 2015-2016 is an almost bare project cupboard with few projects poised to come onstream at that time," Toronto-based Royal Nickel said in its presentation.
North Vancouver, British Columbia-based NAN said "only a doubling of NPI (nickel pig iron) output could balance" demand facing the market in the coming years.
Any supply deficit would likely be fueled by the effective implementation of Indonesias ore export ban, which is scheduled to take effect in 2014.