South Korean company LG Energy Solutions (LGES) has started building nickel refineries in Indonesia, part of the company’s $9.8 billion investment in electric vehicle batteries.
The company plans to build a $3.5 billion smelter with a production capacity of 150,000 tons of nickel sulfate per year, LGES officials told Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a live-streamed ceremony at Batang Industrial Park in Central Java.
They will also build a $2.4 billion plant to produce 220,000 tons of precursor and 42,000 tons of cathode per year. This will provide the main feedstock for a planned $3.6 billion 200 gigawatt-hour battery plant in the industrial city of Karawang in West Java.
LGES and Indonesia’s state-owned mining company Aneka Tambang (Antam) will sign an agreement in September to jointly invest in a $300 million nickel mine on the eastern island of Halmahera to produce 16 million tons of nickel ore, said LGES president Lee Bang-Soo.
With huge nickel reserves, Indonesia wants to become a major producer of nickel-based products, the Indonesian president said during the launch.
Indonesia stopped exporting nickel ore in 2020 to lure foreign investment to develop its downstream industry. Jokowi also wants to repeat this strategy for other natural resources, including halting exports of raw bauxite and tin.
In September 2021, LGES and Hyundai Motor Group began building a $1.1 billion plant in Bekasi, also to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
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