The construction of the largest battery manufacturing plant in Southeast Asia is underway in cooperation with South Korea. With the largest nickel deposits in the world, domestic processing will enable Indonesia to double the value of its nickel exports, says a geologist.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia wants to become a leading manufacturer of batteries for electric cars.
On Wednesday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo kicked off construction work on a new factory in Karawang, 70 kilometres east of Jakarta, location of the largest electric battery manufacturing plant in Southeast Asia.
The ambitious, US$ 1.1 billion-project belongs to HKML Indonesia, a joint Indonesian-South Korean enterprise that includes South Korean companies and Industri Baterei Indonesia (IBI).
With its huge nickel deposits, Indonesia has always been a major nickel producer and exporter.
According to experts, the decision to boost national production could turn the country into a world leader in the electric battery industry.
In fact, President Joko Widodo has pursued this goal since he was elected in 2014 in order to transform the country’s economy from extracting raw materials for exports to transforming them into finished products, so that it can be a driving force in technological innovation.
Indonesia’s nickel deposits are estimated at around 21 million metric tonnes, “more or less equivalent to 22 per cent of world’s total deposits,” said Francis Xavier Rickoloes Pricorianto, a professional geologist.
This makes Indonesia the largest nickel supplier in the world, followed by Australia (20 million metric tonnes), Brazil (16 million) and Russia (7 million).
In the past, Indonesia just exported raw materials, but now, after renewing its economic policies, it can process them and sell the finished product at higher prices.
It is expected that Indonesia nickel exports will eventually be worth US$ 25-30 billion, more than double the current US$ 10.6 billion.
HKML Indonesia plans to have the plant up and running within a short period of time with its first batteries delivered by 2022 to Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s car maker.