ASIATODAY.ID, JAKARTA – The national nickel mining company, PT Ceria Nugraha Indotama, fully supports the Indonesian Government’s steps in developing the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem.
As the largest nickel producing country in the world, Indonesia plays a big role in the EV industry.
“It is time for Indonesia to focus on the electric vehicle ecosystem. The need for battery raw materials, especially nickel, will increase, and this will greatly benefit Indonesia’s position,”
“This is because the electric vehicle ecosystem requires more nickel, where Indonesia has laterite nickel content consisting of limonite and saprolite layers,” said Ceria Group CEO, Derian Sakmiwata when speaking at the 2023 Electic Vehicle (EV) & Battery Conference, held by Tempo Group, at the Borobudur Hotel Jakarta, on Tuesday, November 21 2023.
According to Derian, so far smelters in Indonesia have mostly processed saprolite nickel ore which has a high nickel content. However, to meet the need for nickel as a raw material for batteries, processing limonite nickel ore with the characteristics of low-grade nickel content containing cobalt is also very necessary because it is more economical.
“As a country that has the largest nickel deposits in the world, the government and business actors must be able to play a role in this electric car ecosystem. Because if not, a lot of reserves will be wasted,” said Derian.
As a National Strategic Project (PSN), currently PT Ceria is racing to complete its smelter project in Kolaka Regency, Southeast Sulawesi.
The PT Ceria smelter which is being built will use 2 main technologies, Rectangular Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace (RKEF) technology with a capacity of 4×72 MVA, consisting of 4 production lanes to process Nickel Saprolite ore which is targeted for completion in 2024 and High Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) technology to process Nickel Limonite ore (lower grade nickel ore) to produce electric vehicle batteries which is targeted for completion in 2026.
The total production capacity of the RKEF nickel smelter will be able to produce around 252,000 tons of Ferronickel (FeNi) with a content of 22% Nickel or around 55,600 tons of Nickel in it.
Meanwhile, HPAL processing will have a production capacity of 308,000 tons in the form of Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP), which contains 120,000 tons of nickel metal and more than 12,500 tons of cobalt.
All of PT Ceria’s industrial activities apply the principles and rules of Environment, Social and Governance (ESG).
“ESG must be implemented by every company, especially for the mining industry like ours. If ESG is not implemented, it will certainly be difficult for the Company’s activities to be sustainable,” said Derian in the discussion.
Derian explained that PT Ceria manages Mining Business Permits (IUP) covering an area of 6,785 hectares.
“Resources and mineral reserves from the Ceria IUP will be allocated and processed in the smelter and refining processing plant that we built ourselves,” said Derian.
In developing nickel processing and refining facilities, said Derian, his party must first ensure the availability of reserves to ensure the availability of a sustainable supply of nickel ore.
“Actually, our reserves are not very large, but they are enough to supply our factory for 20 years,” he said.
Derian explained this strategy considering that PT Ceria developed a smelter based on the characteristics of the resources and laterite nickel ore reserves in the Ceria IUP area.
“From 100 percent of the total area of our IUP, almost 50 percent has been explored, we are still exploring the other 50 percent,” said Derian when conveying an estimate of nickel ore resources and reserves from around half the area of the Ceria IUP area.
Deputy Chairman of Commission VII Indonesian Parliament, Eddy Soeparno also supports the target of making Indonesia one of the countries producing electric vehicle/EV batteries.
However, Eddy hopes that Indonesia will not just be a target market, but will become a producer.
“Indonesia should not just be a market, but must be a base for battery production for export,” he said.
According to Eddy, it is time for the Government to think about domestic nickel resilience amidst concerns about the availability of nickel reserves in the future.
Eddy said that if all nickel smelters were operational (around 60 IUI smelters and 7 IUPK OP smelters were pure) and The government continues to open up new smelter investment space, without being balanced with exploration activities to discover new reserves and good governance, so nickel reserves.
“We will run out quickly (between 10-15 years),” he explained.
Assuming that if all smelters operate with nickel production of 210 million tons of ore (wmt) per year, then Ni > 1.7% will run out in 2033 and Ni > 1.5% will run out in 2039.
For this reason, Eddy urges that the current government needs to implement a moratorium on new investments in the construction of pyrometallurgical smelters with NPI products and Ferronickel (because the nickel content is still very low) and encourage further downstreaming of these products to become stainless steel and its derivatives.
“The most appropriate step is of course to accelerate downstreaming. Therefore, the government must strengthen its industry, including nickel, batteries and electric vehicles,” he stressed.
Special Staff to the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources for Coal Governance and Minerals, Irwandy Arif, said that with Indonesia’s power to control 22 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, Indonesia plays an important role in providing raw materials for the world’s nickel supply and demand.
For electric vehicles, the Government is targeting 5 million new electric motorbikes and 6 million converted electric motorbikes by 2025. Then in 2023, there will be 13 million new and converted electric motorbikes.
As of this October, the number of electric motorbikes has reached 74,988 units and 20,414 electric cars.
“Apart from Indonesia, the world is also competing to implement electric vehicles. This has resulted in the need for batteries increasing,” said Irwandy.
“Indonesia’s nickel is 22 percent in the world,” said Irwandy when reading his remarks at the conference.
Irwandy said the government continues to strive to support the battery and electric vehicle industry in Indonesia. Because of this, the government has anticipated the ecosystem for providing raw materials by classifying critical minerals.
“The main challenge is how to develop a strategic plan for this critical mineral to support the battery and electric vehicle industry,” said Irwandy. (AT Network)
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