The main driving force of Chinese nickel industry rapidly developing
The production of Chinese electrolytic nickel in 1991 was less than 30,000 tons, but after 10 years development, to 2001 it was exceeded 50,000 tons, in 2002 the production was nearly 60,000 tons. Now, even conservative estimates, the current Chinese nickel powder manufacturers have 7 to 8 (including the carbonyl nickel powder, electrolytic nickel powder and reduced nickel powder) while the production capacity can reach 1000 tons, the production of 2001 is 700 tons or more. Meanwhile, China’s production capacity of nickel sulfate is 66,500 tons or so. The production in 2001 is about 44,300 tons, in 2002 increased to about 55,000 tons.
The main reason to promote Chinese electrolytic nickel production was the rapid growth of the Chinese market demand growing steadily. Especially the nickel demanding of stainless steel industry was rapidly growth. In 2002 China’s apparent consumption of stainless steel increased by 10% compared with 2001 and reached 2.47 million tons, while the nickel stainless steel production reached 450,000 tons so that this industry’s nickel consumption grew by 7.8%, that is 28,000 tons. In addition, due to the precision alloy and high-temperature alloys, electroplating, catalyst, superhard materials, machinery, batteries and other industries are improving the amount of nickel consumption. On this basis, in 2002 the total volume of China’s nickel consumption is 90,200 tons, in 2005 it reached 159,000 tons.
As the Chinese government support stainless steel and batteries and other new materials industries, the development prospects of Chinese nickel and cobalt industry is very widely. Government used the way of subsidized loans to support state-owned enterprises to develop stainless steel production; Government encourage to cooperate development with foreign company to produce steel; government encourage to invest in stainless steel production, business investment and purchase stainless steel equipment (cold rolling mill) would be given tax breaks and other benefits. In 2002 Chinese steel production was 770,000 tons. 2005 when Chinese steel production reached 2.3 million tons, it needs 8 to 10 tons Nickel. 2010 Chinese steel production reached 3,000,000 tons, needs Nickel 12 to 14 tons.
Due to Chinese nickel resources was limited, further development need to rely on the two markets and two resources. By resources and funding constraints, Chinese nickel smelting capacity tends to be more concentrated. Although capacity has expanded, it was still hard to meet China’s needs. The increased Chinese nickel consumption changed China’s import and export trade structure of nickel. When the international buyers importing nickel products from China, they are attaches great importance to direct trade with the big steel mills, distributors play an important role on supplying products to the small and medium users. China’s current production of cobalt (metal content) was about 5,300 tons, if you take out the amount of double counting this part, China cobalt production should be around 4900 tons. In 2002, Chinese cobalt consumption was 4,845 tons, compared with 2001 increased by 22%. From 2002, the battery industry has exceeded cemented carbide industry, become China’s largest industry of cobalt consumer. China has long been lacking of cobalt resources, the state had also taken a very encouraging attitude on cobalt importing, so the Chinese traders and some large users already with many international companies to establish a long-term supply channels, plus a few years ago, the international price of cobalt was higher, stimulating many Chinese metal powder suppliers to produce cobalt salts and cobalt powder, so from this perspective, China’s cobalt supply is very abundant.