Trimegah Bangun Persada

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Harita Nickel Expands its HPAL Plant Phase III with Investment Value of Idr 16 Trillion

24 June 2023

JAKARTA, – PT Trimegah Bangun Persada (TBP) Tbk (NCKL), also known as Harita Nickel, through its associate company, PT Obi Nickel Cobalt (ONC), is investing around US$ 1.1 billion or equivalent to Rp 16.4 trillion to build a phase III high pressure acid leach (HPAL) plant. ONC is a joint venture between Harita Nickel and Chinese nickel company Lygend Resources & Technology.

Previously, Harita Nickel through PT Halmahera Persada Lygend (HPL) had also completed construction of a nickel sulfate plant, in South Halmahera, North Maluku. This is the first plant in Indonesia and the largest in the world in terms of production capacity.

Director of HPL Tonny H Gultom explained that the third phase of HPAL plant construction under ONC has started since mid-2022. To this day, he said, its progress is still in the HPAL construction stage.

Meanwhile, HPAL's main machine is an autoclave consisting of three units that have landed at Obi Island, North Maluku.

"So, for HPAL phase III, we are ongoing. One autoclave has been installed and just needs to install its accessories. While another autoclave will arrive this month," Tonny explained to Investor Daily, recently.

Regarding investment value for HPAL phase III, Tony said that it is around US$1.1 billion, almost equal to the HPAL project that has been built. In fact, he continued, the investment value may be slightly higher due to price increases.

When asked about its funding sources, Tonny admitted that he could not explain in detail. But clearly, the use of funds from Harita Nickel's Initial Public Offering (IPO) is still in accordance with the company's commitment to build Indonesia from Obi Island.

" This HPAL construction is still referring to efficient nickel ore mining. This means that saprolite mining for RKEF and limonite for HPAL are carried out simultaneously with limonite in the mine. Then, continue to mine saprolite at the bottom," said Tonny.

As planned, HPAL phase III with a capacity of 65,000 tons of nickel sulfate and 75,000 tons of cobalt is expected to be in full production in the first quarter of 2024. Gradually, its capacity is also expected to continue to increase to 120,000 tons in 2024 after all projects are completed.

HPL first successfully produced battery-grade nickel sulfate on March 25, 2023. Correspondingly, NCKL will continue to refine and increase its production until reaching a total production capacity of 240 thousand metric tons (MT) of nickel sulfate per year which is expected to be achieved by this mid-year.

Stay Solid

Samuel Sekuritas analyst Juan Harahap remains optimistic that Harita Nickel will post solid growth this year, supported by additional production capacity of RKEF and HPAL of 95 thousand tons and 18 thousand tons, respectively. In addition, better margin potential, as the company will convert MHP products into nickel sulfate.

Meanwhile, nickel sulfate production is estimated at 37 thousand tons and cobalt sulfate at 4,500 tons. The project is planned to commence in April 2023 and June 2023, respectively.

Juan added that his party made several adjustments to NCKL's projections.

First, he cut FeNis's ASP projection by 9.3%, in line with the decline in FOB NPI Indonesia price, and second, he cut MHP's price projection by 16.7%.

"We maintain our buy rating on NCKL shares, with a lower target price of IDR 1,500 per share from IDR 2,000 per share previously," said Juan.

*Source: Investor Daily

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