Calling Indonesia ‘the Saudi Arabia of nickel’, one of the metals underpinning global steel production and ambitions to decarbonise energy and transport systems, would be an insult to Indonesia’s market dominance.
Indonesia’s mines accounted for nearly half of global nickel production in 2022. It has banned raw nickel exports since 2020 as the country pushes to move up global value chains for renewable energy. Indonesia is a G20 member, a developing democracy and has an enormous potential home market for both steel and electric vehicles (EV).
But despite the seeming centrality of nickel to net-zero ambitions, Indonesia may find itself in a situation eerily similar to that of Saudi Arabia and its oil reserves — sitting atop plentiful resources whose value is set to wane as the EV sector booms. The challenge lies in navigating two landscapes, one geopolitical and one chemical.
In a shifting geopolitical environment, Indonesia is attempting to secure a more prominent place in the EV battery supply chain. This involves moving beyond mining ore and benefaction to battery assembly at a time when major EV battery importers like the United States and the European Union (EU) are onshoring battery assembly.
For the rest of this article: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2023/11/20/rethinking-indonesias-nickel-policies-to-power-economic-growth/