‘What’s the point of a boat if there are no fish?’ – by Hellena Souisa (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 21, 2023)


“The company” — a sprawling nickel industrial area better known as the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) — is a site of national strategic importance to Indonesia and one of the first minerals processing mega-developments that has enabled the country to emerge as the biggest refiner of nickel in the world.

Built with billions of dollars of mostly Chinese money over the last decade, IMIP in Central Sulawesi now spans more than 20 square kilometres with infrastructure including an airport, seaport, and worker accommodation that supports 52 enterprises. IMIP primarily processes nickel ore for stainless steel but now is increasingly producing higher-grade nickel for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The shift reflects a broader trend in Indonesia’s rapidly developing nickel industry, which is creating opportunities for some while leaving others struggling just to survive. When construction began at IMIP in 2013, the park connected nearby villages to electricity and gave away boats, Kurisa’s residents told the ABC.

Sakka uses his boat to travel kilometres away to fish in the Banda Sea. But fish are harder to catch in the deeper water and he has to spend more money on petrol. “What’s the point of a boat if there are no fish?” he said. Sakka said villagers no longer even swim in the water surrounding their houses because it gives them itchy skin. “We never jump into the water now.”

For the rest of this article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-22/indonesias-electric-vehicle-battery-nickel-rush/102862362