Last month, when Indonesia surprised nickel market participants by going through with its plan to ban unprocessed ore exports, many investors were left wondering whether the decision would push nickel prices up. Thus far, the answer has been yes. And encouragingly, Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world's second-largest nickel producer, believes that the base metal will continue to perform well in the next couple of years, climbing "significantly" in 2015. The gain so far Soon after the ban was confirmed, Bloomberg reported that London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel for three-month delivery had risen to $14,253 per metric ton (MT), its highest price since December 30, before closing at $14,210 per MT. Commenting on that increase, Stephen Briggs, an analyst at BNP Paribas, said, "[t]he price is more likely to go up than down, even after this rise that we've had." Since then, Briggs' prediction has been justified. Bloomberg said in another article that three-month LME nickel climbed to $14,345 per MT on January 27. And, though it sank to $14,200 per MT midway through February, by February 19, Metal Bulletin placed it at $14,500 to $14,535 per MT, noting that it had hit an intraday high of $14,638 per MT. Most recently, on February 25, Bloomberg noted that three-month nickel on the LME was trading at $14,314 per MT, "heading for a third monthly advance." Vale anticipates continued growth As mentioned, mining giant Vale said recently that it sees nickel's gains continuing not only in the upcoming months, but also for the next couple of years, particularly 2015. Specifically, the company believes nickel may climb as high as $20,000 per MT.