Chinese Companies Are Flocking to Indonesia for Its Nickel – by Yudith Ho and Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg News – December 15, 2022)

Over a decade, they’ve poured upwards of $14 billion into two ore-rich islands to lock in supplies for battery production.

ABOUT 3,000 miles south of Beijing, Chinese mining companies have set up operations in the heart of the world’s largest known nickel reserves. On the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi and Halmahera, they’ve built refineries, smelters, a new metallurgy school-even a nickel museum.

Together, they’ve plowed US$3.2 billion into the remote islands this year alone, bringing the total to US$14.2 billion in investment over the past 10 years-enough to secure their nickel supply into the next decade.

The metal is primarily used in the production of stainless steel, but it’s also a critical component in electric vehicles (EV). It makes up 90 per cent of the cathode, the most expensive part of a high-performance battery, and there’s concern that demand will outstrip supply in the not-so-distant future.

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