JAKARTA — The Indonesian unit of Brazilian mining giant Vale is embarking on three nickel processing projects worth a combined $8.6 billion with partners including Chinese battery materials producer Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and potentially U.S. automaker Ford Motor.
Vale Indonesia on Tuesday signed a preliminary agreement for the latest of the three projects — all on the island of Sulawesi — with Huayou. It comprises a plan to develop a nickel smelter with high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) technology near Vale Indonesia’s major operations in Sorowako, South Sulawesi province.
The new plant, estimated to cost around $1.8 billion, will have an annual production capacity of around 60,000 tonnes of nickel in mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP), an intermediate product for electric vehicle battery materials.
Vale Indonesia executives told an event organized online by the Indonesia Stock Exchange in Jakarta on Wednesday that the construction of the HPAL plant is expected to start next year, with completion targeted in 2026.
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