POLLUTION: Indonesia has a long way to go to produce nickel sustainably – by Ian Morse (China Dialogue – May 28, 2021)

China Dialogue

When Indonesian officials said they were meeting with Tesla representatives at the end of last year, they had already spent years wooing the company toward the metals locked in their rainforest soils.

The abundance of metals like nickel and cobalt on Indonesia’s islands could calm worries that the electric vehicle (EV) industry would confront resource bottlenecks in building millions of batteries.

But earlier this year, Tesla seemed to have other interests. The US company advanced deals in nickel from the Pacific islands of New Caledonia as well as in manufacturing its cars in India, suggesting to market observers that Indonesia’s nickel industry had become too risky. A company branded on clean products may be particularly sensitive to increased scrutiny on the environmental impacts of its supply chain.

“Investors are seeing that, for example, if I invest upstream in Indonesia and they don’t have sustainability standards met, those companies will be punished by the markets and consumers,” says Andry Satrio Nugroho of Indonesian think-tank the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance. “What Tesla wanted was sustainable mining, which was not supported by current laws.”

Indonesia’s bid to develop its nickel sector in the global push to spread EVs comes on the heels of last year’s new Minerals Law and the highly controversial Omnibus Law on Job Creation.

For the rest of this article: https://chinadialogue.net/en/pollution/indonesia-has-a-long-way-to-go-to-produce-nickel-sustainably/