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Government policy dents nickel supply by Asian producers

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A worker poses with a handful of nickel ore at the nickel mining factory in Indonesia.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The supply of nickel, a metal used to make stainless steel, is being greatly affected by government policy in Indonesia and the Philippines, two major producing nations.

Indonesia, which used to be the biggest nickel ore producer in Asia, has imposed a ban on exports of unprocessed ore in order to nurture domestic smelters. The Philippines has partially suspended mining operations due to environmental concerns. As a result, the world is likely to experience the first supply shortage of nickel in six years in 2016, and it is expected to continue into 2017.

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