Global supply chain analysis of nickel: Importance and possibility of controlling the resource logistics

K. Nakajima, Y. Otsuka, Y. Iwatsuki, K. Nansai, H. Yamano, K. Matsubae, S. Murakami, T. Nagasaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, the issue of sustainable resource management has been increasingly recognized. Economic growth of human activity is associated with a rapid rise in the use of resources in our economy, and society has a potential environmental impact. The UNEP International Resource Panel (IRP) pointed out the importance of decoupling resource use and negative environmental impacts from economic activity (UNEP IRP 2011). In order to optimize the material cycles and increase resource efficiency, material flow analysis (MFA) is a powerful tool to understand the resource consumption and material cycle in the national economy. In this study, we present the results of global material flow analysis of nickel, which is one of the important resources for reducing energy use and CO2 emission in our society, and discuss the importance and possibility of controlling its resource logistics. This study also introduces the challenge of identifying the land-use changes in nickel mining sites by a remote-sensing technique, and knowledge to increase the resource efficiency in metal recycling based on the metallurgical thermodynamic approach. The results indicated the importance of recovery of nickel in recycling policies for end-of-life (EoL) vehicles and constructions. Improvement in EoL sorting technologies and implementation of designs for recycling/disassembly at the manufacturing phase are needed. Possible solutions include development of sorting processes for steel scrap and introduction of easier methods for identifying the composition of secondary resources. Recovery of steel scrap with a high alloy content will reduce primary inputs of alloying elements and contribute to more efficient resource use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalMetallurgical Research and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Emission
  • Land use
  • Material flow analysis
  • Mining
  • Nickel
  • Recycle
  • Remote sensing
  • Supply chain


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