The Top 13 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. Besides, nickel prices went through the roof after sanctions were imposed on Russia, a major nickel producer. If you want to invest in nickel, here is a list of the top nickel mining stocks.

Anna Ng   Updated May 30th, 2022

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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 mining group 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 without recharging. 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 in Australia, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. According to Mining Intelligence, the largest miners are Vale, Norilsk Nickel, Glencore, and BHP Group.

With Russia at war in Ukraine, supply from Russia’s Norilsk Nickel is going to be impacted, which is driving up prices. Russia mines around 9% of nickel. In March 2022, a short squeeze led to nickel prices rising so fast that the London Metal Exchange had to limit nickel trading for several days and even cancel some trades.

Nickel prices are soaring on the back of EV demand and war in Ukraine

Source: London Metal Exchange

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 nickel stocks:

  • Vale S.A. (VALE)
  • Talon Metals (TLOFF)
  • Glencore Plc (GLNCY)
  • BHP Group Ltd (BHP)
  • IGO Ltd (IIDDY)
  • PolyMet Mining Corp (PLM)
  • Canada Nickel (CNIKF)
  • North American Nickel Inc (WSCRF)
  • Sibanye Stillwater Limited (SBSW)
  • Jinchuan Group International Resources Co Ltd (HKG: 2362)
  • Nickel Mines (NICMF)
  • Poseidon Nickel Ltd (PSDNF)
  • FPX Nickel Corp (FPOCF)

Learn more about each company on the list.

1. Vale S.A. (VALE)

  • Market capitalization: $90 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 30%

The world’s second-largest nickel producer, the Brazilian company Vale S.A. mines nickel in Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. In 2021 alone, Vale produced 182,000 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; it also mines manganese and copper. In 2021, only about 10% of net revenues came from nickel. We note that Vale is selling its coal business, which has made this stock less palatable for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investors, many of whom seek to divest from fossil fuels.

2. Talon Metals (TLOFF)

  • Market capitalization: 437 million CAD
  • Year-to-date return: 6%

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, expected to go live in 2026, will also produce copper and cobalt, other important green metals.

Nickel will be sourced in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. Talon will capture carbon emissions from its production, making its nickel carbon-neutral.

In early 2022, Talon signed a deal to supply U.S. nickel to Tesla.

3. Glencore Plc (GLNCY)

  • Market capitalization: 69 billion GBP
  • Year-to-date return: 31%

Switzerland-based mining giant Glencore is one of the world’s top nickel producers, with assets in Australia, Canada, and Europe. In 2021 alone, Glencore produced 102,000 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 2021 sales and EBITDA. In addition to mining nickel, Glencore is a major recycler of nickel-bearing products like batteries.

4. BHP Group Ltd (BHP)

  • Market capitalization: $156 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 17%

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. In early 2022, BHP invested $40 million in a Tanzania nickel project, growing its commitment to the metal. They are also trying to acquire Noront Resources, a Canadian nickel deposit owner.

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 thermal coal business makes it unattractive to ESG investors or those who want to divest from fossil fuels.

5. IGO Ltd (IIDDY)

  • Market capitalization: 9.5 billion AUD
  • Year-to-date return: -2%

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 around 30,000 tons of nickel annually.

6. PolyMet Mining Corp (PLM)

  • Market capitalization: $308 million
  • Year-to-date 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 (CNIKF)

  • Market capitalization: 222 million CAD
  • Year-to-date return: -46%

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. North American Nickel (WSCRF)

  • Market capitalization: 77 million CAD
  • Year-to-date return: 40%

Vancouver, Canada-based North American Nickel is developing a nickel-copper-cobalt project in Greenland. The company has also established Premium Nickel Resources (PNR), a private Canadian entity seeking nickel-copper-cobalt exposure in Africa. PNR has already agreed to acquire the Selkirk nickel-copper-cobalt mine in Botswana. Note that this small-cap is not yet selling any metal.

9. Sibanye Stillwater Limited (SBSW)

  • Market capitalization: $9.1 billion
  • Year-to-date return: 4%

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, the second-largest producer of palladium, and the 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: 10.5 billion HKD
  • Year-to-date return: -35%

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 $1.3 billion in market cap.

11. Nickel Mines (NICMF)

  • Market capitalization: 3.5 billion AUD
  • Year-to-date return: -15%

Australia-based Nickel Mines produces nickel pig iron (NPI), a key ingredient in the production of stainless steel. The company has an 80% stake in two NPI projects in Indonesia as well as an 80% stake in the Hengjaya Mineralindo Nickel Mine, also in Indonesia. The business reported $645 million in 2021 sales.

12. Poseidon Nickel Ltd (PSDNF)

  • Market capitalization: 205 million AUD
  • Year-to-date return: -38%

Poseidon Nickel is an Australian nickel sulphide exploration company with three projects in Western Australia. According to the company, the projects have a resource base of around 400,000 tonnes of nickel and 180,000 ounces of gold. As an exploration company, Poseidon Nickel doesn’t currently generate revenue, so invest at your own risk.

13. FPX Nickel Corp (FPOCF)

  • Market capitalization: 129 million CAD
  • Year-to-date return: 11%

Vancouver, Canada-based FPX Nickel is developing the large-scale Decar Nickel District, located in central British Columbia. The company has a portfolio of five nickel-iron alloy properties, four in British Columbia and one in the Yukon Territory, all 100% owned. FPX Nickel is a pre-revenue miner with a low market cap.

🔔 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. Tesla has also signed a supply agreement with U.S.-based Talon Metals, though Talon’s mine is not yet operating.

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.