Poseidon - God of the Sea. Pic: Gorton's Seafood

Nickel stocks got a boost on Friday with Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s injection of more cash into Poseidon Nickel.

The mining mogul’s investment firm, Squadron Resources, increased its stake in Poseidon (ASX:POS) – which has a market cap of around $53 million – to about 18 per cent, from over 12 per cent previously, by participating in a $5.8 million placement.

Squadron has also agreed to sub-underwrite a $68.8 million entitlement offer priced at 5c – a premium to Poseidon’s share price on Friday.

If no shareholders take up their entitlements, Squadron’s ownership of Poseidon will increase to 59.3 per cent.

The move comes just a week after Black Mountain Metals tabled a 6c-per-share offer – a nearly 54 per cent premium to Poseidon’s last closing price before the news was announced.

Over the past 12 months about half the 50 or so ASX stocks with nickel exposure have made gains of up to 469 per cent.

>> Scroll down for a list of six-month and 12-month returns on ASX stocks with exposure to nickel

But it’s been a different story over the past six months, with only a handful advancing.

The nickel price is down 15 per cent since June — though it’s still ahead by 50 per cent since May 2017:

The price of nickel over the past five years
The price of nickel over the past five years

Twiggy’s investment also follows close on the heels of an investment in another junior nickel explorer by one of the largest lithium-ion battery electrolyte manufacturers in China.

Xu Jinfu, the chairman and a major shareholder of Guangzhou Tinci Materials Technology, became a cornerstone investor in Cassini Resources (ASX:CZI).

Cassini raised $4.2 million under the placement, which also included other high net worth Asian investors.

The cash will be used for working capital for Cassini during the feasibility study stages on the West Musgrave nickel and copper project and to progress its exploration stage projects in Western Australia.

The studies for the West Musgrave project are being funded by partner OZ Minerals (ASX: OZL).

Poseidon, which wants to bring its Black Swan and Silver Swan mines back into production, is one of the gainers – advancing 92 per cent in the past year and over 14 per cent in the last six months.

Positive outlook

While the nickel price has slipped back from its high of $US15,745 per tonne in mid-June to $US13,135 per tonne, nickel producer Western Areas (ASX:WSA) says its view on the medium to long-term outlook “has never been more positive”.

“This view is supported by independent research but, more importantly, customer feedback and the increasing number of new customers expressing interest for nickel concentrate offtake and investment,” the company said in its FY18 results this week.

The world’s largest stainless-steel company, Tsingshan Group, is a key customer of Western Areas and it plans to substantially increase its high nickel content stainless steel capacity over the next few years on the back of robust, end-user demand, according to Western Areas.

Demand for nickel in batteries is also on the rise as battery makers shift to a chemistry that requires more nickel and less cobalt.

China’s biggest lithium battery maker announced this week that it will increase its use of nickel from next year.

The $150 billion Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) plans to switch to a chemistry make-up of 80 per cent nickel, 10 per cent cobalt and 10 per cent manganese – also known as NCM811.

At the moment CATL produces batteries containing 50 per cent nickel, 20 per cent cobalt and 30 per cent manganese for electric car makers SAIC Motor Corp, Geely, BMW and Volkswagen.

BHP (ASX:BHP), which only just last year announced its foray into the battery metals market, is already selling about 60 per cent of its nickel to the battery sector.

And the major expects to be selling as much as 90 per cent by the end of next year, BHP Nickel West asset president Eduard Haegel said recently.

Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) was the biggest mover over the past year, adding 469 per cent to its share price, which is trading at about 7.4c. But on a six-month basis shares actually dived 29.5 per cent.

In July, the company produced 40kg of battery-grade nickel sulphate and 4kg of battery-grade cobalt sulphate and shipped it to its Korean partner, SK Innovation.

It is the largest sample of battery-grade cobalt and nickel sulphate ever shipped from Australia, according to the company.

On a six-month basis, Admiralty Resources (ASX:ADY) led the charge with an 87.5 per cent jump to 1.5c. Over 12 months it also rose 87.5 per cent.

Admiralty is a diversified explorer with a cobalt and nickel project called “Pyke Hill” in Western Australia.

Here’s a list of ASX-listed stocks with exposure to nickel. (We include here stocks that are primarily nickel-focused as well as those with nickel side projects):

Scroll or swipe to reveal full table. Click headings to sort

ASX codeCompanyPrice change - 12 monthsPrice change - 6 monthsPrice Aug 7 (intraday)Market Cap
ADYADMIRALTY RESOUR0.8750.8750.01519.62M
AGSALLIANCE RESOURC0.129411764706-0.3142857142860.09610.01M
AXEARCHER EXPLORATI0.65306122449-0.2285714285710.08115.63M
ARLARDEA RESOURCES-0.066265060241-0.4083969465650.77580.84M
ANWAUS TIN MINING L0.75-0.517241379310.01425.72M
AQDAUSQUEST0-0.05263157894740.0188.93M
AUZAUSTRALIAN MINES4.69230769231-0.2952380952380.074196.71M
AVQAXIOM MINING-0.461538461538-0.2222222222220.10544.50M
BHPBHP BILLITON0.2250.062092568448532.585165.04B
CZICASSINI RESOURCE0.0615384615385-0.05479452054790.06923.49M
CLQCLEAN TEQ HOLDIN-0.359550561798-0.5421686746990.57420.87M
CZNCORAZON MINING L-0.666666666667-0.50.00810.12M
CXXCRADLE RESOURCES-0.2-0.06086956521740.10820.35M
GMDGENESIS MINERALS1.73333333333-0.1458333333330.04137.34M
GMEGME RESOURCES0.610169491525-0.3402777777780.09545.80M
GTEGREAT WESTERN EX-0.571428571429-0.5714285714290.0065.52M
HNRHANNANS0.214285714286-0.2272727272730.01733.67M
HIGHIGHLANDS PAC0.8548387096770.4935064935060.115125.66M
IPTIMPACT MINERALS-0.35-0.2352941176470.01317.18M
IGOINDEPENDENCE GRP0.174351585014-0.1930693069314.0752.44B
JRVJERVOIS MINING1.66666666667-0.3684210526320.3678.37M
KNLKIBARAN RESOURCE-0.117647058824-0.03225806451610.1541.35M
KORKORAB RESOURCES0.529411764706-0.1034482758620.0267.89M
LMLLINCOLN MINERALS-0.545454545455-0.4285714285710.0211.50M
LSRLODESTAR MINERAL1.77777777778-0.07407407407410.02519.48M
MAUMAGNETIC RESOURC0.0740740740741-0.03333333333330.14526.88M
MLMMETALLICA MINRAL-0.513888888889-0.3396226415090.03511.29M
MLXMETALS X-0.396449704142-0.3855421686750.51365.20M
MEIMETEORIC RESOURC-0.0689655172414-0.3414634146340.02715.51M
MCRMINCOR RESOURCES0.8250.05797101449280.36580.36M
MGVMUSGRAVE MINERAL-0.2-0.2682926829270.0620.27M
PANPANORAMIC RESOUR0.5472312703580.06741573033710.475239.85M
PEKPEAK RESOURCES L-0.333333333333-0.3333333333330.0323.18M
PNNPEPINNINI LITHIU-0.333333333333-0.6756756756760.0126.45M
POSPOSEIDON NICKEL0.920.1428571428570.04862.42M
RDMRED METAL-0.393939393939-0.2857142857140.123.13M
RVRRED RIVER RESOUR-0.204081632653-0.4583333333330.195100.44M
RMIRESOURCE MINING1.2-0.4210526315790.0113.26M
RIORIO TINTO0.0675029868578-0.11589363017971.48114.52B
RCOROYALCO RESOURCE-0.116279069767-0.2830188679250.1910.02M
SCISILVER CITY MINE0-0.3571428571430.0276.64M
SAUSOUTHERN GOLD-0.240740740741-0.1960784313730.20510.21M
SPISPITFIRE MATERIA-0.234042553191-0.3454545454550.07237.71M
SGQST GEORGE MINING0.363636363636-0.4285714285710.1232.79M
TASTASMAN RESOURCES-0.62962962963-0.3750.0522.66M
VRXVENTNOR RESOURCE3.57142857143-0.0447761194030.06419.60M
VMSVENTURE MINERALS0.2-0.2941176470590.02413.54M
WSAWESTERN AREAS0.01171875-0.1698717948722.59735.68M
WCNWHITE CLIFF MINE-0.333333333333-0.3333333333330.0025.77M