LONDON/JAKARTA, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Reserves of high-grade nickel ore in top producer Indonesia may be depleted in around six years, a miners’ association has warned, risking shortages of the material used to make stainless steel.
Indonesia’s high-grade 1.7% nickel ore is mainly used for the country’s nickel pig iron (NPI) production, a feedstock for stainless steel, while lower grade is used to make products for the electric vehicles batteries.
“The government needs to make comprehensive control efforts for the resilience of nickel reserves, so that it can sustain the downstream strategy and increase added value,” Meidy Katrin Lengkey, secretary general at the Indonesian Nickel Miners Association, said in a presentation, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
The presentation was at a meeting of the International Nickel Study Group, an industry body, in Lisbon on Oct. 2. Nickel mining and smelting has become a major part of Indonesia’s economy, with billions of dollars in global investment flowing into the country after the government banned exports of unprocessed ore in 2020.