Indonesia, the world’s largest reserve of nickel, has received an investment proposal from fully-electric carmaker Tesla.
The news, reported by Reuters, was recently released by the country’s deputy head for investment and mining coordination, Septian Hario Seto.
Nickel together with cobalt and manganese are key materials for the high voltage batteries in electric vehicles (EV).
Mr Septian said a virtual meeting will be held this week to get an official explanation after receiving the proposal last week. The focus of their discussions had been on batteries and energy storage solutions.
“If they only want to buy raw materials, we are not interested. This (proposal) is beyond just taking the raw material,” said Mr Septian.
Once the top exporter of nickel, Indonesia stopped nickel shipments last year, in an effort to develop a full nickel supply chain, starting from extraction, then processing into metals and chemicals used in batteries, to meet the exponential growth of demand for EVs.
Tesla has announced plans to not only make their new-generation of batteries in-house in the future but also replace the expensive cobalt with more nickel. Tesla’s current facility in Asia is the Giga Shanghai factory in China that produces the Model 3 sedan for domestic consumption.
Global lithium-ion battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) has already earmarked a USD5 billion investment in Indonesia, with the first batch of batteries to begin production in 2024.
Indonesia’s president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has set the EV industry as the focus for the next several years, intending to make 20% of new cars in Indonesia electric by 2025. The country also seeks to become the global hub for battery and electric vehicle production.