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China’s CATL to put $5bn into lithium battery plant, Indonesia says

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) plans to invest $5 billion in a lithium battery plant in Indonesia, Indonesia’s deputy minister at the coordinating ministry of maritime and investment affairs said on Tuesday. 

The lithium battery plant will start production in 2024, deputy minister, Septian Hario Seto, told a virtual briefing.

“The target is that they (CATL) will invest around $5 billion… and the first production of batteries can be done in 2024,” Septian said.

He said CATL has signed an agreement with Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang requiring CATL to ensure 60% of nickel be processed into batteries in Indonesia. 

“We don’t want them to get our nickel but then process it abroad,” he explained.

CATL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hub for EV exports

Indonesia aims to start processing its rich supplies of nickel laterite ore for use in lithium batteries as part of a bid to eventually become a global hub for producing and exporting electric vehicles (EVs).

Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board said in June that LG Chem was considering a $9.8 billion investment in an electric vehicle battery factory integrated with a smelter.

Last week, the Indonesian government said US automaker Tesla will send a delegation to Indonesia next month to discuss potential investment in a supply chain for its electric vehicles.

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