Indonesia to prioritize domestic MHP production
Speaking on Tuesday, May 2, at Fastmarkets’ Asian Battery Raw Materials Conference in Singapore, deputy of investment and mining coordination Septian Hario Seto said the Indonesian government was “not going to be issuing any new permits for NPI smelters in Indonesia.”
He told delegates: “We are also reviewing licenses for nickel matte and, for the time being, we are going to remove the tax incentives for nickel matte production." The move comes in response to concerns over a lack of availability of nickel ore to support Indonesia’s growing nickel operations.
“Our total capacity as of 2022, was around 1.8 million tonnes of nickel metal,” Seto told delegates. “Of this, around 145,000 tonnes is MHP." This 1.8 million tonnes of capacity is supported by 177 million tonnes of nickel ore,” he said, “If we complete all nickel capacity expansions currently in the pipeline - around 1 million tonnes - this would require an additional 150,000,000 tonnes of nickel ore. But we don’t have that much nickel ore."
MHP has become the favored product among Chinese nickel sulfate producers due to its cost competitive advantages compared to traditional methods of production from nickel metal.
And Seto told delegates that the government will “continue to support MHP,” with licences and tax incentives for production.
Fastmarkets researchers currently forecast that the global nickel market will experience a surplus of around 139,000 tonnes this year, while the International Nickel Study Group
(INSG) forecasts an even larger surplus of 239,000 tonnes for 2023.
The surplus will be driven by increasing supplies of Class 2 - or nickel intermediate - products, particularly from Indonesia.
Seto, nonetheless, said that Indonesian MHP production will continue to grow. “By 2027, MHP capacity in Indonesia will be close to 1 million tonnes,” he said.
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