Indonesia’s coordinating minister who oversees mining said on Monday he hoped environmental impact studies for factories to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals would be completed by the end of the year.
The studies, known as AMDAL, need to be completed and approved by the environment ministry before investors can proceed, such as China’s stainless steel giant Tsingshan Group which aims to build a high pressure acid leaching (HPAL) plant.
Asked whether the AMDAL would be issued before the end of 2019, the minister Luhut Pandjaitan said: “We hope so.”
He said investment plans for plants producing chemicals from nickel laterite were worth $3.2 billion, including the plant planned by Tsingshan and another planned by Indonesia’s Harita Group.
The government was revising a rule on managing waste from HPAL plants, Pandjaitan said, saying that the aim was to have this finalised within a month.
Indonesia wants to become a global hub for producing and exporting electric vehicles (EVs) to Asia and beyond, starting by processing its rich supplies of nickel ore into battery chemicals before it starts building EVs.
The country will stop exporting nickel ore from January 2020, two years earlier than originally planned, in order to handle processing at home.
Pandjaitan said the government would also issue a new rule to allow the import of used lithium battery components to be recycled into a new batteries in Indonesia.
(By Wilda Asmarini and Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Edmund Blair)