Indonesia approves environmental study for battery-grade nickel plants: minister – by Fransiska Nangoy and Wilda Asmarini (Reuters U.S. – January 8, 2019)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has approved environmental impact studies for factories to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals in Morowali, Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan said on Wednesday.

The approval will allow investors, such as China’s stainless steel giant Tsingshan Group, to continue the construction of their high-pressure acid leaching plants in Morowali, Central Sulawesi.

There are at least five of these plants being built in Indonesia currently as the government seeks to use its nickel resources to create an integrated industry, including production of nickel chemicals used in car batteries and the building of electronic vehicles.

The country, which is the world’s top nickel ore exporter, has stopped export of unprocessed nickel ore to support this plan.

Two of the plants, representing a combined investment of $2.3 billion, are expected to be built in Morowali by China’s Zhejiang Huayou (603799.SS) and partners and by Chinese battery firm GEM Co Ltd (002340.SZ), Tsingshan Holding Group and partners.

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