There was some fighting talk from Glencore Xstrata’s nickel marketing boss, Kenny Ives, at this week’s investors briefing in London.

Ives declared that his firm’s Nickel Rim South project in Sudbury, Canada, is “as good as it gets” and “better than any project operated by Norilsk Nickel”.

Nor was Ives finished there, but went on in bullish mood: “We’ve got a smorgasbord of properties, some of them world class. If you speak to any nickel miner in the world we’re doing business for those parties, either on a short-term basis or a long-term basis,” he added.

Ives accepted that Norilsk remains the world’s largest nickel miner, producing over 290,000 tonnes in 2012, but highlighted that Glencore Xstrata produces 139,000 tpy of metal and expects that figure to approach 200,000 tpy by 2015.

“In terms of where that [output] will put us, it’s quite clear Norilsk is the 800lb gorilla producing 280,000 or 290,000 tonnes [per year]. But possibly it will divest some of its assets and consequently its production will be lower,” he told investors.

But not content with provoking the gorilla, Ives also took aim at other big beasts.

“Vale – I think we can question their commitment to some of their businesses,” he said.

If Norilsk and Brazilian miner Vale divest assets, Glencore Xstrata will have a larger market share, Ives boasted.

“As you can see, we’re a serious player, and we’re committed to our nickel business. We are by far the leading trader of nickel and that’s not just primary that is nickel ore, concentrates and a number of other products,” he said.