The first miners dug up a mineral with large blotches of green on it and began calling it kupfernickel. The name literally means "false copper" since nickel ores are often found in the same location as copper ores. In 1751, a new mineral, niccolite, was found in the copper and cobalt mining region of Sweden. Expecting to find a large percentage of copper in this mineral, a new element, nickel, was discovered.

Nickel occurs in Canada in the Sudbury Basin of Northern Ontario, where it is mined by Falconbridge Nickel Miners Ltd. and by INCO Ltd. Extensive deposits of nickl-bearing ores are found in the Thompson area of Manitoba. Nickel-copper ores of the Sudbury district have three major sulphide components: pyrrhotite (Fe7S8), pentlandite (NiFeS2, and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2).

Nickel is a hard, malleable, and ductile metal. It has a sivery white appearance, and it can be polished to a lustrous finish. Under normal environmental conditions, nickel does not corrode. Therefore, nickel is a natural choice for a coinage material. Unlike its neighbor to the right (copper ), nickel is only a fair conductor of electricity. However, like its neighbor to the left ( cobalt), nickel possesses outstanding magnetic properties.

Commercial applications of nickel include:

BCIT Chemistry Resource Center