Indonesia’s Battery Giant Needs $15.3b in Investments

JAKARTA : Industri Baterai Indonesia, an electric vehicle battery subsidiary of state-owned largest miners, has estimated that it would need $15.3 billion in total investment to develop an integrated electric vehicle battery, the company top executive said on Wednesday. 

Toto Nugroho, the president director of Industri Baterai Indonesia, said the investment would cover processes from the mining of the battery raw materials, smelting/ refining, battery chemicals manufacturing, battery cells manufacturing, all the way to the recycling of used batteries. 

“We need an investment of $15 billion, which is a challenge in itself. There is a timeline of around 3-4 years,” Toto said in a session discussing the environmentally friendly automotive industry at the 2021 Investor Daily Summit on Wednesday. 

According to a company’s presentation, Industri Baterai Indonesia would need $160 million in investment to mine limonite and saprolite, metallic ores that rich in nickel, the main ingredient for lithium-ion batteries.

Next, the company would need to invest in smelting facilities, including rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) technology and another using high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) technology, to process the ores. Industri Baterai Indonesia would need $1.3 billion in investment for each smelting facility. 

The battery precursor materials and cathode would need $1.8 billion and $3.8 billion in investment, respectively, while the production of the battery cell itself may need an upfront cost of $6.73 billion. For battery recycling, Industri Baterai Indonesia sought to put in $30 million upfront capital.

Industri Baterai Indonesia’s presentation also mentions an energy storage system (ESS) with an investment of $40 million. This ESS stores energy generated by renewables such as solar panels.

A man recharges an electric car at a Perusahaan Listrik Negara’s (PLN) recharging facility in Tangerang, Banten, on July 1, 2020. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Iqbal)

“We are working with two big global players, LG Energy Solution from South Korea and CATL from China,” said Toto. 

He said the company expected the integrated production line could produce battery cells with a total capacity of up to 140 gigawatt-hour (GWh) per year. 

Industri Baterai Indonesia has four shareholders with 25 percent each, namely the state-owned energy company Pertamina, state-controlled miner Antam, state utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), and the state mining holding Indonesia Asahan Aluminum, also known as Mining Industry Indonesia (Mind ID).


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