Mincor founder David Moore says conditions behind the recent nickel price spike could last up to five years, provided Indonesia's nickel export ban stays in place.
Speaking at a WA Mining Club lunch yesterday, Mr Moore said Indonesia's move to consolidate its export ban by building 100,000 tonne-a-year nickel smelters would take time.
"The question is: how quickly can this happen?" he said.
"Firstly, it can only start happening once people are convinced the ban will stay in place - you don't want to be half way through a billion-dollar construction to find you've lost your market.
"Very little has actually started and the numbers I'm hearing is three years and $2.5 billion to build a 100,000tpa smelter.
"But they don't even know really what the costs are going to be. It's quite difficult and it's hard to see the smelter capacity currently in China replicated in Indonesia in three years - maybe it'll take five years."
Mincor, which mines out of Kambalda, has been one of the beneficiaries of nickel's recent run on the back of the Indonesian export ban, introduced in January.
Its shares have jumped from 56Â¢ just before the ban to 84Â¢ yesterday.
Mr Moore described the nickel price as "the final arbiter", and said after three years of falling commodity prices the recent spike gave its share price a welcome bump.