Geological workers have discovered a nickel ore, with nickel reserves of at least 1.28 million tonnes, in Ruoqiang county, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The ore will help mitigate the shortage of the country's industrial nickel resources, said an official with the region's geology and mineral exploration bureau on Friday. The probable nickel and other reserves may exceed 2 million tonnes, as there are still mineral layers to be explored in the ore, said the official who declined to be named. Geological workers also found about 220,000 tonnes of copper and 60,000 tonnes of cobalt reserves in the ore, the official said. Sponsored by the central geological exploration fund, geological departments and mining companies in Xinjiang carried out a four-year exploration starting from 2009 in Ruoqiang county. The Ministry of Land and Resources in mid-September pinpointed a 5,585-square-kilometer zone in the county for a national mineral exploration project, where the ore was discovered, according to the county's land and resources bureau. Nickel is a silvery-white lustrous metal that is widely used in the aerospace, defense, and civil industries. China's reserves of nickel is estimated at 9 million tonnes, the ninth largest in the world, statistics show. Covering an area of 202,300 square kilometers, Ruoqiang is China's largest county. It is located at the southeastern fringe of the Taklimakan Desert with abundant mineral resources. More than 50 mineral categories, such as gold and asbestos, have been found in the county.