Dirty metals for clean cars: Indonesian nickel could be key to EV battery industry – by Erwida Maulia (Nikkei Asia – October 19, 2022)


Rich nickel reserves attract Chinese investment but environmental hurdles remain

JAKARTA/MOROWALI, Indonesia — A group of fishermen and their wives looked forlorn on the porch of their stilt houses, perched on the sandy coast of Indonesia’s remote Bahodopi district.

Their homes, along with the few dozen others that make up the fishing hamlet, stood against a backdrop of towering cranes and billowing white smoke from the chimneys of Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP), a sprawling nickel processing complex in Central Sulawesi province that hosts an array of Chinese companies and their partners, led by stainless steel giant Tsingshan Holding Group.

Sirajudin, a fisherman in his 30s, said he did not go to sea that day because he had caught a cold. Residents of the fishing village often complain of respiratory problems, blaming soot from the coal unloaded from barges to supply IMIP’s power plants. The dust is carried by the wind into local residents’ houses.

“The dust from the coal causes eye irritation, coughing, breathing difficulties,” Sirajudin said. His fellow villagers echoed these concerns. They often find their hands or faces covered in soot, they said. Even in the homes of wealthier residents, soot coats the ceramic floors. “We have to wash the plates and spoons all over again before eating,” one resident said.

For the rest of this article: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Big-Story/Dirty-metals-for-clean-cars-Indonesian-nickel-could-be-key-to-EV-battery-industry