Sulawesi Mining to Invest $1.06b in Smelter – by Damiana Ningsih Simanjuntak (Jakarta Globe – April 26, 2013)

Sulawesi Mining Investment, an Indonesian-Chinese joint venture company, plans to invest $1.06 billion in a Central Sulawesi nickel mining operation, including a plan to build a smelter, an industry executive said on Thursday.

Alexander Barus, vice president of Bintangdelapan Mineral, the Indonesian firm in the venture, said that some $96 million would go toward the smelter and support the power plant in Morowali, Central Sulawesi, while $100 million would be for the mine and supporting facilities.

Halim Mina, vice president commissioner of Sulawesi Mining, said that the investment would be split into two stages. “For the first phase, the investment will stand at $340 million and the second phase at $640 million,” Halim said.

“The plan is for the first phase to become operational at the end of 2014,” he added, noting that about 30 percent of the first phase had already been completed.

He said the smelter’s output would mostly be exported to China, but gave no details, adding only that its products would be marketed domestically “in line with the demand” for nickel.

Speaking after meeting Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat, Halim said the company was also looking at investing in stainless steel derivative products, but gave no further details. The company disclosed the recent investments in the smelter during the meeting, Halim said.

“This investment is a response to the Law on Minerals and Renewable Energy, which states that [exports of] raw mineral materials will no longer be allowed in 2014. Therefore, we hope that the law is consistently applied. This is an endeavor to encourage local industry … so as to be able to produce derivative stainless steel products,” he said.

Sulawesi Mining is 55 percent owned by China’s Dingxin and 45 percent by Indonesia’s Bintangdelapan.

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