Antam Explores Cooperation to Build Class 1 Nickel Plant

Arfi Bambani
Nickel Production in PT Vale Indonesia (Tbk) in Central Sulawesi.
Nickel Production in PT Vale Indonesia (Tbk) in Central Sulawesi. - President Director of PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) Nico Kanter said his company was exploring global cooperation with some companies to build a class 1 nickel plant as the main material for electric vehicle batteries.

"We (Antam and IBC) are under the auspices of Inalum or MIND ID to sign a framework agreement that will be the basis for not only the construction of the smelter but also precursor cathode derivatives and batteries including battery recycling is also built in Indonesia," he said at a hearing with Commission VI of the Indonesian House of Representatives in Jakarta, Monday, September 12, 2022.

Kanter explained that there are two types of nickel, namely class 1 nickel which is used for electric vehicle batteries, and class 2 nickel which is used for stainless steel products. According to him, factories in Indonesia, including those in Southeast Sulawesi, have only processed class 2 nickel into nickel pig iron or ferronickel which was then reduced to stainless steel.

Meanwhile, class 1 nickel is nickel produced as a mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) or mixed sulfide precipitate (MSP) in the form of materials that are used to become precursors or cathodes and eventually become electric vehicle batteries. "So this class 1 (nickel) factory does not yet have a factory in Indonesia, but we have signed several cooperation agreements to build a precursor smelter and a battery," said Kanter.

Last March, Antam and Indonesia Battery Corporation (IBC) signed two initial agreements with Ningbo Contemporary Brunp Lygen (CBL) from China and LG Corporations from South Korea. The two foreign companies are a consortium that includes not only experts in building factories but also cathodes and electric vehicle batteries.

In the consortium, Antam's position is in the upstream sector because it has the largest equity and natural resources in the form of nickel. Antam will sign a joint venture agreement (JVA) with CBL.

"We as resource owners of course have the largest equity. So, later in the JVA, we will own 51 percent and CBL or LG will own 49 percent," Kanter explained.

Then, upstream, it will go into the construction of a smelter to produce derivative products that will be processed into cathodes and precursors. In the smelter joint venture contract, the composition of ownership between Antam and IBC is only 40 percent and the remaining 60 percent is owned by CBL and LG.

CBL built its factory in East Halmahera, North Maluku. LG also build its factory but in a different area. As for the next derivative factory, they will launch it in Batang, Central Java.

"We will enter the electric vehicle battery industry, so it's no longer just in stainless steel for its final derivatives," Kanter said.

Tag # indonesia nickel # class 1 nickel # indonesia mining industry # aneka tambang

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