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Global News Brief

Nickel-rich Indonesia draws global suppliers of EV battery materials

April 21, 2021    


Major overseas companies are rushing to set up nickel-processing facilities in Indonesia as the country bans exports of raw ore.

Germany-based BASF and French nickel processor Eramet are considering building a nickel- and cobalt-refining complex in Indonesia. The facilities would supply an annual 42,000 tonnes of nickel and 5,000 tons of cobalt, for use in cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining has also expressed strong interest in bringing an Indonesian refinery online, an investment possibly worth billions of dollars.

Nickel is a critical part of electric-vehicle batteries, and Indonesia hopes to leverage its rich reserves to establish a domestic battery supply chain. However, aggressive policies have also raised concerns over the negative impact of resource nationalism.