Vale Base Metals is committing $10 billion in investments over the next decade in Indonesia to meet the surging demand for metals like nickel and copper, essential for electric vehicle (EV) production, according to the company’s CEO. This substantial investment is part of Vale’s broader plan to allocate $25 billion to $30 billion for new projects in Brazil, Canada, and Indonesia within the next ten years.
Indonesia, with the world’s largest reserves of nickel ore and significant copper and bauxite deposits for aluminum, aims to establish itself as a global hub for EV battery materials and potentially EV manufacturing.
Through its subsidiary, PT Vale Indonesia Tbk (INCO.JK), Vale Base Metals is actively developing two high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) plants in collaboration with partners, including China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. These facilities will produce mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) from nickel, a crucial component in EV batteries.
Additionally, Vale is partnering with China’s Shandong Xinhai Technology Co. Ltd and a unit of China Baowu Steel Group Corp. Ltd to construct a ferro-nickel plant. These initiatives are set to significantly increase Vale Indonesia’s refining capacity from approximately 75,000 metric tons per year to nearly 300,000 tons, according to Vale Base Metals CEO Deshnee Naidoo.
The Pomalaa project, with a total investment of $3.5 billion, will involve Huayou as a partner, while U.S. car-maker Ford Motors will hold a 17% stake and assist with financing.
Moreover, Vale is exploring opportunities to expand downstream partnerships, including collaborating with automakers for its Indonesian projects, following the successful collaboration with Ford.
Vale is also conducting exploration activities at a copper mine in Indonesia’s West Nusa Tenggara, which has the potential to rival the size of the Grasberg copper mine in eastern Indonesia, the world’s second-largest copper mine operated by a unit of Freeport McMoran. An investment decision for the copper project is anticipated around 2026.
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