JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s ban on nickel ore exports could boost the country’s earnings from the metal five-fold in the next five years through growth in industries such as stainless steel and battery materials, a minister said on Wednesday.
In a move that threatens to cut global supply, the world’s top nickel miner said this week it would stop nickel ore exports from Jan. 1, 2020, two years earlier than initially indicated, to promote more domestic processing.
Luhut Pandjaitan, a coordinating minister overseeing mining, said nickel-related export earnings will surge from last year’s $5.8 billion, with investment in processing pouring into the nickel-rich region of Morowali in Central Sulawesi province.
“Now (exports) may be at $7.8 billion, in 2020 they will reach $12 billion and in 2024 they may exceed $30 billion, including exports of lithium batteries,” Pandjaitan said at Indonesia’s first electric car show.
Indonesian authorities have expressed hopes that nickel-related industries such as the production of stainless steel and battery materials will grow to become one of the country’s main industries, overshadowing current top commodity palm oil in 10 to 15 years.