There are different methods of mining depending on the type of deposit, location, and economic factors. Common mining methods for nickel ores include open-pit mining, underground mining, and laterite mining.
- Open-pit mining: In open-pit mining, the nickel ore deposit is accessed by removing overlying soil, vegetation, and rocks to expose the ore body. The ore is then extracted using heavy machinery, such as excavators, loaders, and haul trucks. This method is typically used for shallow, near-surface nickel deposits.
- Underground mining: In underground mining, tunnels or shafts are dug into the ground to access the nickel ore deposit, which is typically deeper and more difficult to reach. Underground mining methods can include shaft mining, drift mining, and slope mining, depending on the specific deposit and geological conditions.
- Laterite mining: Laterite deposits, which are a type of nickel ore, are typically mined using open-pit methods. Laterite deposits are usually located in tropical or subtropical areas and are characterized by a weathered, oxidized layer on top of a partially or completely unweathered nickel-bearing rock layer. The overlying weathered layer is usually removed to access the unweathered ore layer.
Nickel production in indonesia
Indonesia is the world’s largest nickel producer. Indonesia is leveraging its world’s largest nickel reserves to attract investment in the battery supply chain, especially for electric vehicles (EV). In 2014, the country banned the export of nickel ore to encourage miners to process the ore domestically and thereby increase the value of their nickel production. Chinese investment has developed an integrated steel industry and Indonesia is now on track to repeat this success along the EV battery supply chain. Indonesia’s first factory to process nickel for use in batteries was inaugurated in May 2021, with at least seven other projects on the way. The progress of these High Pressure Acid Lixiviation (HPAL) projects will be key to the future supply of battery-quality nickel, at least in the short term.
Data from Delta Analysis and U.S. Geological Survey.
To download the data, click the cloud in the right corner at the bottom of the figure.