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JV investing $700M to develop nickel-cobalt project in Indonesia

Fastmarkets MB that a joint venture comprising Tsingshan Group, GEM, Brunp Recycling, PT Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) and Hanwa Co Ltd will invest $700 million to develop a nickel-cobalt project in Indonesia.

The project, located in Morowali County, Central Sulawesi in Indonesia, has a target production capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year of nickel and 4,000 tpy of cobalt. It will be able to produce 50,000 tpy of nickel hydroxide intermediates, 150,000 tpy battery-grade nickel sulfate, and 20,000 tpy battery-grade cobalt sulfate, battery recycler GEM said late last week.

GEM, steel mill Tsingshan, and battery-maker CATL’s recycling arm Brunp will hold 36%, 21% and 25% of the shares of the joint venture respectively. The remaining 10% and 8% shares will be owned by Indonesian joint venture IMIP and trading company Hanwa.

Demand from the battery sector is expected to surge fivefold over the next six to seven years, Fastmarkets MB head of battery raw materials research William Adams said at the Metal Bulletin Nickel conference in Jakarta on September 12-13.

Nickel demand from lithium-ion battery producers is set to rise rapidly from 100,000 tpy to 500,000 tpy by 2025 while the market shifts to nickel-rich batteries, such as nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) 811 batteries.

While nickel prices are largely dependent on the performance of the stainless steel market, which is the largest consumer of nickel, market participants say the looming EV boom is likely to add more weight to the nickel price outlook.

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