Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Indonesia’s dominance in nickel supply crucial for global EV market

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Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has asserted that the United States cannot increase its electric vehicle (EV) production elevenfold by 2030 as targeted without Indonesia’s support.

“Indonesia controls over 70 percent of the world’s nickel ore,” Luhut told the MINDialogue event in Jakarta on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

Nickel is a critical component for manufacturing EV batteries. Besides relying on Indonesia, America’s EV development plans are also trailing behind other major nations.

Luhut highlighted that the U.S. is nine years behind China in terms of smelting and refining technology, as acknowledged by Tesla.

“Even if the U.S. has the money, (but) they can’t buy time,” he said.

Given these factors, Luhut urged Indonesia to adopt a more assertive stance with the U.S.

“Indonesia is not a country that simply follows orders. We have our own stance and must be able to defend it,” he emphasized.

Muhammad Wafid, Head of the Geological Agency at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), revealed that there are 100 potential nickel sites in Indonesia, spread from Sumatra to Papua.

“We have identified 100 sites: one in northern Sumatra, five in Kalimantan, and several in Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua,” Wafid said on June 4, 2024.

These sites are still potential locations requiring further exploration. The majority of the nickel potential in Sulawesi lies outside of mining permit areas, or greenfields.

Wafid cited of ongoing exploration efforts to discover and evaluate strategic and critical minerals, as mandated by ESDM Minister Arifin Tasrif. This includes exploration in areas like Bledug Kuwu in Grobogan regency, Central Java, and others.

Earlier this year, the Geological Agency reported that Indonesia has 2 million hectares of land with nickel potential, of which only 800,000 hectares have been mined or exploited.

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