PolyMet has invested heavily in the environmental review and permitting requirements for NorthMet, and has spent $77.363 million on the project to date. Fortunately, that seems to be paying off — as PolyMet's president and CEO, Jon Cherry, stated in July, "[t]he environmental review process is nearing completion, with permitting set to follow shortly after the Record of Decision on the final EIS." PolyMet's share price is up 34 percent this year.First Nickel (TSX:FNI) A mining and exploration company operating in Northern Ontario's Sudbury Basin, First Nickel's Lockerby mine produced 5.8 million pounds of contained nickel and 3.3 million pounds of contained copper in the first half of 2014. It recorded revenue of $38.3 million and reported that it has continued ramp and lateral development at the mine. The company also reported respective net losses of $0.9 million and $10.1 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2014. However, its stock is still up 25 percent year to date. Also worth noting is that on May 6, an accident occurred at Lockerby that resulted in two fatalities, leading First Nickel to halt its infill operations for over two months. The company responded by following established safety protocols, and provided counselling and support to employees, families of the deceased and local communities. Talon Metals (TSX:TLO) Traditionally an iron miner, Talon entered an agreement with Kennecott Exploration in June to acquire a 30-percent interest in Kennecott's nickel-copper-platinum Tamarack project, "with a potential pathway to owning 100% of the project." Talon's chairman, Warren Newfield, has been very positive about the agreement, stating that Talon concluded that Tamarack is a potential "company maker" after considering and reviewing over 700 projects over the past two years. In terms of what else the company has been up to this year, Talon recently added Dr. Tony Naldrett to its board of directors; he's a leading expert on magmatic — or nickel, copper and PGM — sulfide mineralization. It also released its initial resource estimate for a portion of the Tamarack project in early September, with 3.75 million tonnes in indicated resources at a grade of 2.35-percent nickel equivalent and an inferred resource of 3.12 million tonnes at a grade of 1.63-percent nickel equivalent. So far in 2014, Talon Metals has gained 72 percent.
Balmoral Resources (TSX:BAR)While it's only in the early stages of exploration, a look at busy companies in the nickel space would certainly be remiss if it failed to mention Balmoral. The company's share price has gained a whopping 320 percent so far this year, mostly on the back of a highly prospective nickel discovery at its Grasset project in Quebec's Abitibi Region. Initially a gold discovery, follow-up drilling at Grasset intersected a zone of nickel-copper-PGM mineralization, and Balmoral quickly put a drill program together to find out exactly what sort of resource it is looking at. Further drill results were released in August, showing intersections of 102.86 meters grading 1.03-percent nickel, 0.11-percent copper, 0.22 grams per tonne platinum and 0.53 grams per tonne palladium, including higher-grade sections within that intercept. More gains to come? To be sure, there has been plenty going on for nickel miners so far this year. Resource investors will want to keep an eye on the nickel space to see what these companies get up to for the rest of 2014. Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. Related reading: Nickel Prices Forecasted to Keep Rising 5 Nickel Companies on the Move from Nickel Investing News