An international consortium of renowned e-mobility players plans to build a resource mining plant for lithium-ion batteries on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. In concrete terms, the project reportedly involves nickel and cobalt. Apparently, Tesla, CATL, LG Chem, Daimler and Volkswagen aim to participate in the consortium.
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News of the consortium was reported by Antara News, the official news agency of the Indonesian government. The total investment in the factory is estimated at four billion dollars. The responsible minister Luhut Pandjaitan confirmed the information.
At the Morowali site, the mood towards the planned factory is apparently negative – many Indonesians fear that China will exert too much influence in the region. While it was reported that the minister tried to appease the locals, a compromise was not reached.
Since such a mine is complex in development, construction is expected to take about three years. Pandjaitan promised the companies subsidies. According to Antara News, the minister said that Indonesian President Joko Widodo could sign a presidential decree “in the next few days”. After that, companies could resort to incentives such as tax cuts or exemption from import duties.
Indonesia has large nickel reserves and cobalt production facilities. In early 2018, the Indonesian government revealed a road map to, among other EV goals, make use of these resources. Toyota and Hyundai have already jumped in, the former investing 2 billion euros in the South East Asian country. With the new mine, the car and battery companies could become more independent of the controversial cobalt from the Congo.
Update 29.07.2019: The exact commitment of the German carmakers is still unclear. When asked by electrive.com, Volkswagen stated that although the Group was continuously examining “how the supply of raw materials and the sustainability of its supply chain can be optimised,” a company spokesperson only left this open insofar as “In this sense, we are evaluating various scenarios and projects,” but that “No decision has been made at this point in time.” For their part, Daimler seemed to be completely unaware of the development, as a spokesperson from the company replied: “There are currently no plans to expand our involvement in Indonesia,” when electrive.com asked about the plans.