Problems facing the global nickel market are being discussed in New Caledonia this week at a gathering of the world's top producers.
The volatile nickel price has dropped as two new huge nickel plans have this year begun production in New Caledonia, which has about a quarter of the world's nickel ore supply.
The Noumea conference is being attended by among others Vale of Brazil, Xstrata-Glencore of Switzerland, BHP Billiton of Australia and Chinese, French and Russian producers.
The long-standing New Caledonian producer, SLN, is again feared to be making a loss this year as the crisis in Europe has cut demand and led to growing stockpiles.
China is also reported to have become a massive producer, based on ore imports from Indonesia and the Philippines.