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|WMC Resources Ltd nickel operations have expanded significantly over the last three years. Production capacity has increased at mine/concentrate, smelting and refinery processes to such an extent that WMC now ranks within the top three or four producers of nickel metal in all forms. The stainless steel industry remains the dominant user of nickel. WMC's forecast is for stainless steel production to grow at 2.8 per cent per annum off of the 1995 peak, with much slower growth in the short-term as the stainless steel inventory overhang unwinds, followed by a return to higher trend growth rates. WMC's forecast for the long-term growth in demand for primary nickel is three per cent per annum off the 1995 peak; again, slower growth in the short-term before a return to higher long-term trend rates. This projection is towards the optimistic end of the range of industry experts. It equates to a requirement for new primary nickel of 25 000 to 30 000 tonnes of annual capacity each year.|