Eagle Mine will be the only mine in the United States devoted primarily to nickel production. During its seven to eight year productive life, the mine is expected to produce 300 million pounds of nickel. That’s enough nickel to produce more than 9 million Prius batteries.
Nickel is the fifth most common element on earth. While pure nickel is often used for plating and coating, it’s more commonly found in the form of nickel-alloys. More than 60 percent of the nickel produced is used to make stainless steel, an extremely strong nickel alloy that’s also highly resistant to rust. In total, there are approximately 3,000 nickel-containing alloys used in everyday life.
From medical equipment to transportation, nickel is found in many of the products that make modern life possible. Manufacturers often prefer to use nickel alloys over other materials because they are more resistant to corrosion, tolerant of high and low temperatures, strong and contain magnetic and electronic properties.
Nickel-containing materials also have a long useful life of 25 to 35 years. Even at the end of their useful life, nickel products are easily recycled for future use. In fact, about half of the nickel in modern stainless steel products has come from recycled sources.