What will Indonesia look like after Jokowi leaves? (The Economist – September 7, 2023)

https://www.economist.com/

During his final term as Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo has played the global statesman. He hosted leaders from across the region at the Association of South-East Asian Nations (asean) summit in Jakarta from September 5th to 7th.

In August he bagged economic deals during a tour of Africa. He will attend the g20 leaders’ summit in Delhi on September 9th, having hosted last year’s event, and plans to visit Saudi Arabia soon, too. At home, his soft-spoken, folksy style has made Jokowi, as he is known, one of the best-liked leaders in the world.

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Indonesia proposes critical minerals trade deal with US (Reuters – September 7, 2023)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Indonesia has asked the United States to begin talks on a trade deal for critical minerals so that exports from the Southeast Asian country can be covered under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, an Indonesian ministry said on Thursday.

The request was made when Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on the sidelines of meetings hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta on Wednesday.

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OPINION: At mining company Sherritt, any executive pay may be too much – by David Milstead (Globe and Mail – September 1,2023)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

At first blush, there seems not to be much to say about executive compensation at Sherritt International Corp. A million bucks here and there, positive feedback from proxy-advisory services, solid shareholder support for the compensation approach in its “say on pay” vote.

The problem, though, is that if you’re a long-suffering stockholder of the miner of nickel and cobalt, you may wonder why anyone there is getting paid anything at all. At the very least, the pay at Sherritt illustrates the problem with trying to match up “long-term” incentive pay to the truly long-term shareholder experience.

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Angry Philippine islanders are trying to stop the great nickel rush – Nick Aspinwall (Rest of World.org – August 30, 2023)

https://restofworld.org/

“It’s very ironic that, in order to mitigate the impact of global warming, you have to cut down our trees … just to support the initiatives of Elon Musk.”

The small, crescent-shaped island of Sibuyan sits at the dead center of the Philippine archipelago. Venturing there from Manila is a 15-hour journey by bus and ferry, which keeps most vacationers away from its glistening sandbars and unspoiled old-growth forests.

The water from all its 36 rivers and streams is drinkable, locals say; it has never been connected to any other landmass, preserving unique plant and animal life. Natural scientists have called it the “Galapagos of Asia.”

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Indonesian nickel smelters turn to Philippines for ore as local supply tightens – by Mai Nguyen and Siyi Liu (Reuters – August 30, 2023)

https://www.reuters.com/

Aug 30 (Reuters) – Nickel smelters in top producer Indonesia are making rare purchases of ore from the Philippines to ease tight supplies, people familiar with the matter said, upending trade flows of the raw material and pushing up costs across the supply chain.

Jakarta recently delayed the issuing of mining quotas and suspended operations at a key site of state miner Aneka Tambang (ANTM.JK) (Antam) after an investigation into corrupt practices in issuing mining allowances.

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How Geopolitics Is Complicating the Move to Clean Energy – by Peter S. Goodman (New York Times – August 18, 2023)

https://www.nytimes.com/

The fate of Indonesia’s unrivaled stocks of nickel — a critical mineral used to make batteries for electric vehicles — is caught in the conflict between the United States and China.

He is known as the Minister for Everything. From the government offices of Indonesia’s capital to dusty mines on remote islands, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan commands authority as the nation’s essential power broker.

A four-star general turned business magnate turned cabinet officer, Mr. Luhut’s paramount aspiration is transforming Indonesia into a hub for the production of electric vehicles. But as he pursues that goal, he and his country are increasingly vulnerable to geopolitical forces beyond their control.

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Indonesia defends its curbs on nickel ore exports amid EU claim of breach in international trade – by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja (The Straits Times – August 3, 2023)

https://www.straitstimes.com/

JAKARTA – Indonesia has stepped up its defence of its nickel ore export curbs the European Union has protested against, asserting its right to enhance value addition, boost its economy, and create job opportunities by climbing the value chain.

Indonesia claims it is doing what is necessary to develop its electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem, while the EU claims the nation rich in natural resources has breached rules by restricting international trade. South-east Asia’s largest economy, which was the world’s top exporter of nickel ore, introduced the ban on Jan 1, 2020.

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Why China should tread carefully around French interests in Africa and the Pacific – by Emanuele Scimia (South China Morning Post – August 8, 2023)

https://www.scmp.com/

At a China-France dialogue in Beijing last month, Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng expressed hope that France “will stabilise the tone of friendly cooperation” with the European Union. This comes as French President Emmanuel Macron tries to promote Europe’s strategic autonomy amid the great power contest between the US and China.

Beijing’s promise of increased economic cooperation suggests it wants help from Paris to repair its deteriorating ties with the EU. But the manoeuvre could fail if China crosses the line in two geopolitical chessboards that France considers strategic and are currently in the spotlight – francophone Africa and the South Pacific.

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Under pressure: Recent successes in high-pressure acid leaching operations for nickel laterite deposits tempered by environmental risks – by Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco (CIM Magazine – August 07, 2023)

https://magazine.cim.org/en/

The nickel market is expected to undergo a significant shift in the coming years as the global energy transition speeds up. Currently, only about 11 per cent of nickel goes towards the electric vehicle (EV) battery and battery storage markets. The majority of nickel produced—some 65 to 70 per cent—is purchased by the stainless-steel sector. However, in 10 to 20 years, it is estimated that the battery applications market will need some 50 per cent of all nickel produced.

EV batteries cannot use just any nickel, however; battery manufacturers require high-purity nickel sulfate. Almost all Class 1 nickel, which exceeds 99.8 per cent nickel content, comes from magmatic nickel sulfide deposits, which represent only 30 to 40 per cent of known global nickel resources. This has many looking hard at the remaining 60 to 70 per cent: low-grade nickel laterite deposits.

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The new commodity superpowers – by Leslie Hook, Harry Dempsey and Ciara Nugent in Buenos Aires (Financial Times – August 7, 2023)

https://www.ft.com/

In the first part of a series, countries that produce the metals central to the energy transition want to rewrite the rules of mineral extraction

The red-brown landscape of Tenke-Fungurume, one of the world’s largest copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is covered by tens of thousands of dusty sacks. The bags stacked up by the roadside and piled next to buildings contain a stash of cobalt hydroxide powder equivalent to almost a tenth of the world’s annual consumption — and worth about half a billion dollars.

The haphazard stockpiles of this bright green powder, a key ingredient in electric car batteries, point to how the DRC, the world’s largest producer of cobalt, is starting to flex its muscles when it comes to the metals needed for the energy transition.

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Report: French nickel sector in danger of collapse – by Annabel Cossins-Smith (Mining Technology – August 3, 2023)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

The report analyses the long-term negative results of three of France’s major metals corporations operating in New Caledonia.

France’s nickel production sector is at risk of collapse and must be refinanced and restructured to meet EU critical raw materials independence goals, a new government report warns.

The report, published on Tuesday, analyses the long-term negative performance of three of France’s most significant metals corporations operating in New Caledonia, a French territory off the east coast of Australia that is home to approximately 10% of the world’s nickel supply. Société Le Nickel, majority state-owned Koniambo Nickel and Prony Resources Nouvelle-Calédonie are all at risk of falling further behind their Indonesian and Chinese competitors.

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Indonesia defends its curbs on nickel ore exports amid EU claim of breach in international trade – by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja (Straits Times – August 3, 2023)

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/

JAKARTA – Indonesia has stepped up its defence of its nickel ore export curbs the European Union has protested against, asserting its right to enhance value addition, boost its economy, and create job opportunities by climbing the value chain.

Indonesia claims it is doing what is necessary to develop its electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem, while the EU claims the nation rich in natural resources has breached rules by restricting international trade. South-east Asia’s largest economy, which was the world’s top exporter of nickel ore, introduced the ban on Jan 1, 2020.

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Nickel’s at a Crossroads as Supply Boom Hits LME, Macquarie Says – by Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – July 21, 2023)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The nickel market is at a “turning point” with a wave of supply of the battery metal about to hit the London Metal Exchange and push down prices, according to strategists at Macquarie Group Ltd.

The nickel market has become increasingly disconnected since the huge short squeeze that roiled the market last year, as surging production of the most widely used forms of nickel drives those prices lower, while the refined metal traded on the LME is in much tighter supply.

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A battery supply chain that excludes China looks impossible (The Economist – July 17, 2023)

https://www.economist.com/

Green industrial policy and hawkish security policies are clashing

“I’d like to get all the gas emissions off the highways of the world,” said John Goodenough, one of the Nobel prize-winning scientists who developed the lithium-ion battery four decades ago, during an interview in 2018.

Goodenough died on June 25th before his dream could become reality. But governments around the world are scrambling to make it so, with remarkable results. Global sales of electric cars quintupled between 2019 and 2022, surpassing 10m units last year.

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The rush for nickel: ‘They are destroying our future’ – by Valdya Baraputri (BBC News Indonesia – July 9, 2023)

https://www.bbc.com/

Two men are carrying torches and homemade arrows as they slip into the ocean at night on an Indonesian island. They are from an indigenous community of Bajau people – renowned freedivers who find it better to hunt in the dark when fish, lobsters and sea cucumbers are less active.

But they fear time is running out for their traditional way of life. “Right now, the water is still clear,” says Tawing, one of the fishermen. “But it won’t stay that way… nickel waste enters our water during the rainy season and the current carries it here.”

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