Vale Indonesia signs US$2b nickel project deal with Shandong Xinhai, Baowu

NICKEL miner Vale Indonesia on Tuesday (Sep 6) signed an investment deal with China's Shandong Xinhai Technology and a unit of China Baowu Steel Group to develop a processing plant on Sulawesi island.

Vale Indonesia's chief executive Febriany Eddy said the project, which is located in Bahodopi, in the Morowali district, would cost around US$2.1 billion.

"With this signing we can proceed and accelerate construction work in the field so it can be completed by 2025 at the latest," she said during the deal signing ceremony.

Under the deal, the companies will form a joint venture firm, with Vale controlling 49 per cent of the stake. Shandong Xinhai and Baowu, through its subsidiary Taiyuan Iron & Steel (TISCO), would together control 51 per cent, Vale's chief finance officer Bernardus Irmanto told reporters.

The Bahodopi project would produce ferronickel with 73,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes of nickel content per year, he said, noting the partners were also discussing the possibility of adding a stainless steel plant later on.

Wang Wenlong, the chairman of Shandong Xinhai, said at the signing ceremony that the Bahodopi project would be the first nickel plant in Indonesia to be powered with liquefied natural gas.

In Pomalaa, another area of Sulawesi island, Vale and its partners are developing a plant to produce 120,000 tonnes per annum of mixed hydroxide precipitate, material extracted from nickel ore that would be used in batteries for electric vehicles. REUTERS

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