JAKARTA — Indonesia is inching toward building an industry to supply nickel for batteries and electric vehicles. The government last month acquired a major stake in a nickel miner, following basic agreements with top South Korean and Chinese battery makers for domestic joint ventures totaling $12 billion.
It is also looking to eventually become a regional hub for manufacturing electric vehicles, starting with a future partnership with Hyundai Motors.
The chain begins with Indonesia’s nickel reserves, the world’s largest. Recently, state-owned holding company Mind Id, previously known as Inalum, acquired a 20% stake in nickel miner Vale Indonesia, the country’s largest nickel producer by output, for 5.52 trillion rupiah ($374 million).
Another link is a lithium-ion battery industry that Indonesia expects to start developing next year. Here, the country has won agreements from the world’s two largest lithium-ion battery makers, South Korea’s LG Chem — which will spin off its battery business, LG Energy Solution, on Dec. 1 — and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology, better known as CATL, to produce the power packs on the archipelago.
The next step, years away, is electric vehicle manufacturing that calls Indonesia home. Here, Hyundai has expressed an interest.
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