The Top 10 Nickel Stocks To Buy in 2022

Demand for battery metals is surging as electric vehicles go mainstream. When lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars contain more nickel, the cars can drive for longer. If you want to invest in nickel, here is a list of the top 10 nickel mining stocks.

SustainFi   Updated December 6th, 2021

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Is investing in nickel a good idea?

Nickel is a silvery-white, hard yet malleable metal that retains its properties even at extreme temperatures. Found in everything from coins and showerheads to electric car batteries, nickel has been used as far back as 3,500 BC.

Today, nickel has become a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. According to BHP, a lithium-ion battery for an electric car contains 40 kg (88 lbs) of nickel. Lithium-ion batteries can also store energy from renewables. Battery storage is becoming critical as we generate more power from weather-dependent renewables like wind and solar.

Why is nickel so important? When batteries contain more nickel, the car can drive for longer. Nickel makes batteries more powerful, and it will be critical for larger EVs like electric trucks. Currently, only about 7% of nickel goes to batteries (most of it is used to make stainless steel). But in the future, the share of EV batteries in nickel consumption will likely grow.

According to the International Energy Agency, demand for nickel from EVs and storage needs to grow from 81 tons in 2020 to 3,352 tons by 2040 under the sustainable development scenario.

What companies mine for nickel?

Nickel is mined all over the world, including Australia, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. According to Mining Intelligence, the largest miners are Vale, Norilsk Nickel, Glencore, and BHP Group.

However, diversified mining giants generate most of their sales from other metals. While they are a good way to bet on green metal demand generally, you may also want to look at smaller (and more speculative) nickel pure-plays, like Canada Nickel.

Nickel stocks list

Here is a list of 10 nickel stocks:

  • Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE)
  • Norilsk Nickel (OTCMKTS: NILSY)
  • Glencore Plc (LON: GLEN)
  • BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)
  • IGO Ltd (ASX: IGO)
  • PolyMet Mining Corp (NYSEAMERICAN: PLM)
  • Canada Nickel (CVE: CNC)
  • Talon Metals (TSE: TLO)
  • Sibanye Stillwater Limited (NYSE: SBSW)
  • Jinchuan Group International Resources Co Ltd (HKG: 2362)

Learn more about each company on the list.

1. Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE)

  • Market capitalization: $67 billion
  • 2021 return: -25%

The world’s second-largest nickel producer, the Brazilian company Vale S.A. mines nickel in Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. In 2020 alone, Vale produced 214,700 metric tons of nickel. Nickel mines contain minerals beyond nickel, including cobalt and copper, which are also critical for the EV industry.

Vale is not a pure-play nickel stock, however. The mining giant is also the world’s largest iron ore producer, plus it mines manganese, copper, and coal. In 2020, 12.5% of total revenues came from nickel. (The coal business makes this stock less palatable for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investors, many of whom seek to divest from fossil fuels altogether.)

2. Norilsk Nickel (OTCMKTS: NILSY)

  • Market capitalization: $47 billion
  • 2021 return: -11%

The world’s largest nickel producer, the Russian miner Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel for short) is a diversified mining company that produces nickel, copper, palladium, platinum, and other metals. In 2020 alone, Nornickel mined 221,000 tons of nickel, mostly in Russia. Although it’s not a pure-play nickel business, nickel made up about 20% of Nornickel’s revenues in 2020. Copper, another key metal for the electric car revolution, added another 20%. Besides being one of the top nickel producers, Nornickel is the world’s largest producer of palladium.

3. Glencore Plc (LON: GLEN)

  • Market capitalization: 47 billion GBP
  • 2021 return: 45%

Switzerland-based mining giant Glencore is one of the world’s top nickel producers, with assets in Australia, Canada, and Europe. In 2020 alone, Glencore produced 110,000 tons of nickel, making it one of the world’s top three nickel miners. However, because Glencore is so diversified, nickel accounted for about 5% of its 2020 EBITDA. In addition to mining nickel, Glencore is a major recycler of nickel-bearing products like batteries.

4. BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP)

  • Market capitalization: 202 billion AUD
  • 2021 return: -8%

The Australian mining giant BHP Group produces copper, iron ore, nickel, and other metals. Its nickel mining operation, Nickel West, is located in Western Australia, and BHP is continuing to expand the nickel business. The company produced 89,000 tons of nickel during its fiscal year ending in June 2021, selling over 85% of its nickel to the EV battery industry.

However, although BHP is the world’s third-largest nickel producer, it’s a relatively small part of the business for the diversified mining giant. Further, BHP’s coal business makes it unattractive to ESG investors or those who want to divest from fossil fuels.

5. IGO Ltd (ASX: IGO)

  • Market capitalization: 8 billion AUD
  • 2021 return: 50%

IGO Ltd is a diversified Australian metals and mining company focusing on metals needed for the clean energy revolution, namely nickel, copper, cobalt, and lithium. IGO’s 100%-owned Nova nickel-copper-cobalt mine is the lowest-cost nickel producer in Australia, producing 29,000 tons of nickel annually. The Australian miner is also in discussions to buy another Australian nickel miner, Western Areas.

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6. PolyMet Mining Corp (NYSEAMERICAN: PLM)

  • Market capitalization: $304 million
  • 2021 return: -11%

Majority-owned by the Swiss mining giant Glencore, PolyMet Mining Corp still has stock listed on the NYSE. This early-stage mining company is developing the NorthMet project in Minnesota. The project, which will be Minnesota’s first nickel-copper mine, will produce copper, nickel, cobalt, and precious metals. PolyMet has been developing the mine for over a decade, and having an experienced backer like Glencore should speed things up.

7. Canada Nickel (CVE: CNC)

  • Market capitalization: 338 million CAD
  • 2021 return: 94%

Canada Nickel is a mining company developing the 100%-owned Crawford Nickel-Cobalt project in Ontario, Canada. They believe the mine could produce 42,000 tons of nickel annually when it gets to peak production, which would make it one of the largest nickel mines globally. Canada Nickel targets a 2022 feasibility study for the mine. Importantly, Canada Nickel aims to produce environmentally friendly zero-carbon nickel.

8. Talon Metals (TSE: TLO)

  • Market capitalization: 425 million CAD
  • 2021 return: 12%

U.S.-based miner Talon Metals is developing the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project in Minnesota in a joint venture with the major global miner Rio Tinto. The company aims to provide a domestic source of nickel for the EV industry. The project will also produce copper and cobalt, other important green metals. Nickel will be sourced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way.

9. Sibanye Stillwater Limited (NYSE: SBSW)

  • Market capitalization: $9 billion
  • 2021 return: -24%

The South African mining company Sibanye Stillwater has historically focused on precious metals, but that is changing. Right now, Sibanye Stillwater is the world’s largest producer of platinum, second largest producer of palladium, and third largest producer of gold.

But, with five transactions in the battery metals sector, the company is pushing into green metals. In October 2021, Sibanye announced that it would buy nickel and copper mines in Brazil for $1 billion. The Santa Rita nickel mine, which is among the top 10 global nickel mines, can produce 16,000 tons of nickel each year. In July 2021, Sibanye also acquired a nickel processing facility in France for €65 million.

10. Jinchuan Group International Resources Co Ltd (HKG: 2362)

  • Market capitalization: 15 billion HKD
  • 2021 return: 10%

China’s number one nickel producer, Jinchuan Group, is also one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt, another critical battery metal. Although the Hong Kong-listed company is controlled by the Chinese government, it has nearly $2 billion in market cap, so anyone can invest.

🔔 Prefer buying an ETF instead? See what your nickel ETF options are.

NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the largest producer of nickel?

The Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel was the world’s leading nickel producer in 2020, with 221,000 tons produced. Brazilian company Vale is a close second.

Who is Tesla buying nickel from?

Tesla buys nickel from multiple suppliers, including BHP and Vale.

Is there an ETF for nickel?

There is no ETF just for nickel stocks, but several metals and mining ETFs can give you exposure to nickel. You can also invest in the iPath Series B Bloomberg Nickel Subindex Total Return ETN (JJN). Instead of investing in nickel mining stocks, this exchange-traded note tracks nickel prices.