Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bahlil: Gresik smelter makes electric battery ecosystem in Indonesia more complete

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Gusty da Costa




Minister of Investment/Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia said the latest copper smelter built by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) will further strengthen the electric battery ecosystem in Indonesia.

Addressing the inauguration of PTFI’s smelter project in the Java Integrated and Industrial Port Estate (JIIPE) area, Manyar, Gresik, East Java, on June 27, 2024, Bahlil said that copper downstreaming is an important step in supporting the electric battery ecosystem.

“We think that downstream copper is part of the instrument for raw materials for batteries. Copper foil is for wrapping batteries,” Bahlil said in a statement as quoted on June 28, 2024.

“Electric cars need copper. So if the ecosystem is in place, we will be one of the countries that has a complete electric battery raw material component,” he added.

On this occasion, Bahlil also talked about the challenges faced in realizing the smelter.

“Today I am happy and grateful because it has been a long journey. I know very well that building this smelter is not easy, it was about to be shifted, the dynamics are asking for mercy. In 2021, when we decided to build it immediately, there was COVID-19. But today we can witness this smelter together,” he said.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Airlangga Hartarto, said the construction of this smelter was very timely because the world is currently in the trend of using renewable energy.

“Of course the downstream (copper) is important, especially for industries in power generation, then also in electric mobility, with the change from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles,” Airlangga said.

President Director of PT Freeport Indonesia, Tony Wenas, expressed his hope that the smelter can produce around August.

“Before we start operating, it will take 6-7 weeks to heat up first and then put in the concentrate. So it is estimated to be able to produce first in mid-August, hopefully it can be done before or within the framework of the Indonesian Independence Day,” Tony said.

PT Freeport Indonesia’s smelter is designed to refine 1.7 million tons of copper concentrate per year, and together with the smelter operated by PT Smelting, the total refining capacity reaches 3 million tons per year. This will produce approximately 1 million tons of copper cathode, 50 tons of gold and 200 tons of silver per year. The cumulative investment value for the project, which occupies 100 hectares of land in the JIIPE Special Economic Zone (KEK), has reached Rp55 trillion (about US$3.67 billion).

Gusty da Costa






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