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Indonesia Still Keen on Nickel Supply Deal With Tesla

President Joko Widodo is keen to meet Tesla chief Elon Musk during an upcoming US visit, the minister said, as the Southeast Asian country seeks to rev up its nickel industry

Tesla has signed a deal to buy nickel worth about $5bn, Indonesia said on Monday.
Nickel mining in Indonesia. The country sought a nickel supply deal with makers of electric vehicles such as Tesla to secure its mining production. File photo: Reuters.


Indonesia is still trying to get a deal with Tesla to supply nickel for batteries for its electric vehicles, a senior minister revealed in Jakarta on Monday.

Representatives from the car company are currently in Indonesia and due to visit Morowali, the nickel production centre on Sulawesi Island, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister of Investment, said.

President Joko Widodo was keen to meet Tesla chief executive Elon Musk during an upcoming US visit, the minister said, as the Southeast Asian country seeks to accelerate development of its nickel industry.

“They will visit Morowali… They are very satisfied with the data they have received so far,” Luhut told a media briefing.

In an Instagram post after meeting Musk in Texas in April, Luhut had said he hoped for “discussions regarding the progress of Indonesia’s nickel industry development, which is high-tech, which can bring our country into the global supply chain of the electric vehicle industry.”


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ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Washington

The Indonesian president, widely known as Jokowi, is due to travel to the United States this week for a summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Washington.

Asked about a meeting between Jokowi and Musk, Luhut said “we’re arranging where the meeting will be.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Indonesia is keen to develop a full domestic supply chain for nickel, especially for extracting battery chemicals, making batteries and eventually building EVs.

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy has struck multi-billion dollar deals with South Korean and Chinese companies to take advantage of its nickel resources and has been trying to woo Tesla for some time.

Brazilian miner Vale last week signed a long-term deal with Tesla to supply nickel from its Canadian operations. Vale also has nickel operations in Indonesia.


• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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