Several state-owned Indonesian companies are planning a joint venture for batteries for electric vehicles. The joint venture, called Indonesia Battery Holding, is to contribute to the development of the entire industry.
Their business will cover everything from the production of chemicals and minerals to the production of battery cells and the recycling of old batteries. Founding companies are the state-owned mining companies Mining Industry Indonesia (MIND ID), and Aneka Tambang (also known as ANTAM), power utility Perusahan Listrik Negara (PLN) and the oil company Pertamina, MIND ID CEO Orias Petrus Moedak announced. “We are preparing a concrete cooperation plan, so that the nickel utilisation project can start immediately, to produce batteries,” he said according to Reuters at a conference broadcast online. According to Bloomberg, PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, known as Inalum, is also involved in the joint venture.
However, Indonesia Battery Holding will also work with foreign companies. Two projects of the Indonesian battery consortium with foreign battery cell manufacturers, specifically with CATL from China and LG Chem from South Korea, are already planned. According to Orias, the two projects will have a total volume of 12 billion US dollars (around ten billion euros).
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Orias also stated that the state-owned mining company ANTAM – the competitor to the MIND ID managed by Orais – will continue to work on “related” projects involving electric car batteries. These include projects such as “high-pressure acid leaching” (HPAL) and the “rotary kiln electric furnace” (RKEF). Orias did not provide any details on these projects, however. HPAL is used in the production of nickel materials for batteries, among other things.
While Orias already announced concrete projects, a report by Bloomberg takes a different tone. It quotes a spokesperson for LG Chem, who confirmed that the South Korean battery manufacturer and ANTAM had agreed to look into joint venture operations, but the talks were still at an early stage. The spokesperson also confirmed that a possible agreement would give LG Chem “stable access” to nickel. CATL declined to comment when prompted.
Indonesia is interesting for battery production or its precursors, since according to Bloomberg NEF data, 24 per cent of global nickel deposits are located in the country. Last summer there were already rumors that a consortium of Tesla, CATL, LG Chem, Daimler and Volkswagen were planning a raw material factory in the country. The two German carmakers immediately denied their alleged involvement to electrive, and it seems that nothing has come of this project in the past 15 months.