As metal prices continue to decline, mining operations could be forced to take a hard look at their bottom line, says one mining executive.

Bruce Jago, executive director of the Goodman School of Mines at Laurentian University, said nickel prices are now on par with production costs.

"They're going to have to look for ways for really cutting their costs, or they're going to have to consider closing, say, on a short-term basis, to conserve cash," he said.

He noted the declining commodity prices can be traced back to 2009, "when there was a huge crash in money markets around the world and it’s just continuing on," he said.

Declining commodity prices also make it difficult for the exploration industry to raise money to look for new minerals.

Currently nickel is sitting about $6 a pound.

Jago said mining companies are starting to cut production costs and, in some cases, may temporarily shut down mines.