Nickel processing goes on – by Editorial (Jakarta Post – November 25, 2022)

The recent decision of the panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body against Indonesia’s policy of banning raw nickel export should not in any way distract the government’s focus on its well-designed strategy to develop the processing of nickel and other minerals in the country.

The government should instead appeal against the verdict of the panel which ruled in favor of the European Union’s complaint that the Indonesian raw nickel export ban imposed since January 2020 violated WTO rules.

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Plans for OPEC of Nickel Finds Doubters in Australia, Canada – by James Fernyhough (Bloomberg News – November 17, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — An Indonesian proposal to create an OPEC-like group of nickel suppliers has raised eyebrows among Australian miners.

Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia floated the idea of an alliance that he said would help to unite government policies on the in-demand battery metal — and push the development of the downstream industry — at the Group of 20 Summit in Bali this week. The plan has been discussed with both Canada and Australia.

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Indonesia proposes to Canada setting up OPEC-like group for nickel – by Staff (Reuters – November 16, 2022)

JAKARTA, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Indonesia has proposed in talks with Canada establishing an OPEC-like organisation for nickel producing countries, the Southeast Asian nation’s investment ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Indonesia and Canada are the first and sixth biggest nickel producers in the world, respectively. The proposal was made when Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia met Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng on Tuesday on the sideline of the G20 summit in Bali.

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Tesla-Backed Nickel Miner Cuts Output After Waste Dam Leak – by Mathieu Dion and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – November 4, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — The troubled Goro nickel mine — one of the world’s largest deposits, which is part-owned by Trafigura Group and backed by Tesla Inc. — has been forced to reduce production to address a leak from its tailings dam.

Goro, which is located in the South Pacific territory of New Caledonia, reported a “limited release of salt-laden liquid” after heavy rains in August, a spokesperson for owner Prony Resources said by email. Corrective measures required by local authorities mean that nickel output will be reduced in the fourth quarter, the company said.

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Indonesia considers Opec-style cartel for battery metals – by Harry Dempsey in London and Mercedes Ruehl in Singapore (Financial Times – October 20, 2022)

World’s largest nickel producer exploring governance structure similar to that used by oil group

Indonesia is studying the establishment of an Opec-like cartel for nickel and other key battery metals, highlighting the geopolitical confidence of nations that are rich in resources needed to make electric cars.

Bahlil Lahadalia, the country’s investment minister, said Jakarta was looking at mechanisms similar to those used by Opec, the group of 13 oil-producing nations, that could be employed in the supply of metals that are central to the energy transition.

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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.

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GM to take equity stake in Australian mining company – by David Shepardson (Reuters – October 11, 2022)

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) – General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Tuesday it will invest up to $69 million and take an equity stake in Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM.AX) to secure a new source of nickel and cobalt for battery cells for use in the U.S. automaker’s vehicles.

GM said the investment will help support electric-vehicle eligibility for consumer incentives under new, clean energy U.S. tax credits. GM said the nickel laterite ore is expected to be processed using a new, proprietary process that helps reduce waste.

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Sulawesi islanders grieve land lost to nickel mine – by Eko Rusdianto – October 6, 2022)

WAWONII ISLAND, Indonesia — The coconut palm has been a source of food and identity for centuries among the people of Wawonii Island. In the local language wawo means above and ni’i is the word for coconut — Wawonii is an island crowned by coconuts. “Now it has become a mine,” said Abdul Latif, a farmer born here in Roko-Roko village. “Wawonii should just be renamed.”

Like many areas of Indonesia’s nickel-rich Sulawesi region, Wawonii is caught in the tension between international demand for green energy and the need to preserve landscapes. Indonesia accounts for both some of the world’s largest reserves of nickel and its third-largest tropical forests.

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Nickel primed for another price bounce amid fears of Russian nickel ban – by Tim Treadgold (Small Caps – October 6, 2022)

Small Caps

Nickel is unlikely to soon test its all-time high of US$50,000 a tonne reached earlier this year when a Chinese billionaire was caught in a spectacular short squeeze, but there are early signs of conditions developing which point to a price bounce.

The major issues with nickel are reliability and quality of supply, with both stoking a slow-burning fire under a metal once used mainly in the production of stainless steel but increasingly as an ingredient in batteries.

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The case for low-grade sulfide nickel deposits – by Richard (Rick) Mills (A Head Of The Herd – October 4, 2022)


Nickel deposits come in two forms: sulfide or laterite. About 60% of the world’s known nickel resources are laterites, which tend to be in the southern hemisphere. The remaining 40% are sulfide deposits. The main benefit of sulfide ores is that they can be concentrated using the fairly simple flotation technique.

There is no such technique for nickel laterites. The rock must be completely molten or dissolved to enable nickel extraction. As a result, laterite projects require large economies of scale at higher capital costs to be viable. They are also generally much higher cash-cost producers than sulfide operations.

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Indonesia’s electric vehicle batteries dream has a dirty nickel problem – by Rodrigo Castillo, Lilly Blumenthal, and Caitlin Purdy (Brookings Education – September 21, 2022)

Indonesia—the world’s largest nickel miner—is making moves to become a key player in the electric vehicle supply chain. Most of Indonesia’s nickel output is currently Class 2 nickel, a low-purity type used for stainless steel.

The country’s government and the mining sector are determined to transform its nickel industry to meet the rising demand for Class 1 nickel, a crucial component for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.[1] EVs are widely viewed as a pillar of the transition toward renewable energy sources since they typically have a smaller carbon footprint over their lifespan than gasoline-powered vehicles.

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Vale Indonesia embarks on $8.6bn nickel projects with Chinese firms – by Erwida Maulia (Nikkei Asia – September 14, 2022)

JAKARTA — The Indonesian unit of Brazilian mining giant Vale is embarking on three nickel processing projects worth a combined $8.6 billion with partners including Chinese battery materials producer Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and potentially U.S. automaker Ford Motor.

Vale Indonesia on Tuesday signed a preliminary agreement for the latest of the three projects — all on the island of Sulawesi — with Huayou. It comprises a plan to develop a nickel smelter with high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) technology near Vale Indonesia’s major operations in Sorowako, South Sulawesi province.

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Indonesia Has Lost More Tropical Forest to Mining Than Anywhere – by Sheryl Tian Tong Lee (Bloomberg News – September 18, 2022)

Four countries accounted for 80% of tropical forest loss due to industrial mining, study finds.

(Bloomberg) — More than half the tropical deforestation caused by industrial mining in the last two decades took place in Indonesia, according to a new study.

The researchers, whose paper was published Sept. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), overlapped the geographic coordinates of industrial mines with forest loss data from 2000 to 2019, focusing on 26 countries.

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In Sorowako – by Adam Bobbette (London Review of Books – August 2022)

Sorowako,​ on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, is the site of one of the largest nickel mines on earth. Nickel is an invisible part of many everyday objects: it disappears into stainless steel, the heating elements of domestic appliances and the electrodes of rechargeable batteries.

It was formed here more than two million years ago, when the hills that surround Sorowako began to emerge along an active fault. Laterites – iron oxide and nickel-rich soils – developed through the relentless erosion of tropical rain. When I rode my scooter into the hills, the ground duly changed colour, becoming red with blood-orange streaks.

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Column: Indonesian tax will shake up the nickel export mix again – by Andy Home (Reuters – August 5, 2022)

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s planning to reshape the global nickel market again. The country is the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of nickel, used in both stainless steel and electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

It banned the export of nickel ore in 2020, forcing its mining sector to build out processing capacity. The huge flows of ore to China’s stainless steel mills have been replaced by shipments of nickel pig iron (NPI) and ferronickel.

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