JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia is building a lithium refinery and an anode material production facility to complement its nickel-based battery materials industry, an official said, as it aims to set itself up as a hub for making electric vehicles (EVs).
Investors are currently building a lithium hydroxide plant with 60,000 tonnes capacity in the heart of the nickel industry in Morowali, Septian Hario Seto, a Deputy Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, told an industry conference on Tuesday.
An anode material plant with 80,000 tonnes capacity is set to start construction in January, he added.
Both materials are needed to make EV batteries.
“We are building an ecosystem, so we are not only producing nickel- and cobalt-based components alone,” he said.
Indonesia has already started producing EV battery parts extracted from nickel, but other materials are also needed to produce EV batteries, Seto said.
Indonesia currently does not have its own lithium mine. He did not elaborate on how the lithium ore for the plant would be sourced.
The government has banned exports of unprocessed nickel to attract investment at home and secure material for domestic production of nickel metals and battery materials.
(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Bernadette Christina Munthe; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)