Vale's nickel production was one of the few bright spots for the company in its second quarter results.
The company's base-metals division contributed $609 million to its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Nickel prices have climbed steadily since April due to an export ban in Indonesia, the world's largest producer of the metal.
Patricia Mohr, a commodity market specialist with Scotiabank, told Northern Life she expects nickel to reach US$10.75 per pound by 2015 thanks to the Indonesian export ban, which is expected to remain in place for several years, until the country can build processing capacity to get more value out of its mines.
Vale's net income from iron-ore production, however, was down 43 per cent, to $1.43 billion, compared to $1.89 billion in the previous quarter.
The prices for iron-ore have dropped by 30 per cent since the start of the year, and hit a 22-month low in June.