02 June 2023
Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia - As the largest nickel "treasure" owner in the world, Indonesia should now also be proud to have the largest nickel plant in the world.
This world's largest nickel plant produces nickel sulfate which is a key material that makes up electric vehicle battery cathode precursors. This nickel sulfate plant is located in Obi Island, South Halmahera Regency, North Maluku.
This is the largest plant in the world as it has a nickel sulfate production capacity of up to 240 thousand tons per year.
Operation of the nickel sulfate plant in Obi Island was recently inaugurated by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
So, who owns the first nickel sulfate plant in Indonesia and the largest one in the world?
This nickel sulfate plant is operated by PT Halmahera Persada Lygend, an affiliate of PT Trimegah Bangun Persada Tbk (NCKL), a Harita Nickel group.
Quoting the company's website, PT Halmahera Persada Lygend is owned by Harita Nickel through PT Trimegah Bangun Persada Tbk (NCKL) by 45.1%, Lygend Resources Technology Co. Ltd by 36.9%, and Kang Xuan Pte Ltd by 18%.
President Director of PT HPL is held by Parasian Simanungkalit and director positions are held by six people, including Tonny Gultom, H.Ghufron, Ge Kaicai, Yu Hai, Zhang Bao Dong, and Hu Hong Gen.
While the President Commissioner is held by Cai Jiangyong and Commissioners are held by Lim Gunawan Hariyanto and Jiang Xinfang.
Harita Nickel is part of the Harita Group which operates integrated mining and downstream operations in Obi Island, South Halmahera, North Maluku.
In addition to having a Mining Business License (IUP), the company has had a saprolite nickel processing and refining plant (smelter) since 2016 and also has a limonite nickel plant in the same operational area since 2021.
Both facilities absorb nickel mining products from PT Trimegah Bangun Persada Tbk (NKCL) and Gane Permai Sentosa (GPS).
Through Halmahera Persada Lygend, Harita Nickel became a pioneer in Indonesia in the processing and refining of nickel limonite (low grade) with High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) technology. This technology is able to process nickel limonite which has not been utilized into a product of strategic value, namely Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP).
With the next stage process which is also being developed by Harita Nickel, MHP will be further processed into Nickel Sulfate (NiSO4) and Cobalt Sulfate (CoSO4) which are raw materials for electric vehicle batteries.
While Lygend Resources Technology Co. Ltd is a company in the world nickel supply chain sector which was established in January 2009 in the East China Sea, Zhejiang, China.
Starting from selling nickel ore and ferronickel, Lygend is now expanding to produce integrated nickel products from upstream to downstream. In addition to China and Indonesia, the company also has business units in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
The inauguration was marked with an inscription signing by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment represented by the Deputy for Investment and Mining Coordination, Septian Hario Seto, continued with an operational review of nickel sulfate production at PT HPL's High Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) technology plant.
Also attending the inauguration ceremony were South Halmahera Regent Usman Sidik and members of Harita Group management and Lygend Resources Technology Co. Ltd.
Director of PT Halmahera Persada Lygend, Tonny H. Gultom stated in his speech that Harita Nickel through PT HPL in collaboration with Lygend Resources Technology Co., Ltd, again recorded a new history after June 2021 producing Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP) as a raw material for electric vehicle batteries and became a pioneer industry in Indonesia.
"Today we are again setting a new milestone in which you will witness inauguration of the nickel-sulfate plant (NiSO4.6H2O) which is also produced by PT Halmahera Persada Lygend," Tonny said.
This nickel sulfate plant established in Obi Island, claimed Tonny, will be the first plant in Indonesia to produce as well as the largest in the world in terms of its production capacity.
"In terms of NiSO4 production capacity, the Company will continue to make improvements and increase its capacity to reach 240,000 metric tons/year with a nickel metal content of 54,000 tons/year which is targeted to be achieved in mid Q2 of 2023," said Tonny.
The initial export of nickel sulfate is expected to be made in June 2023.
Tonny revealed, Harita Nickel consistently develops an integrated mining industry from upstream to downstream in this mineral-rich Obi Island. Initiated from mining in 2010 through PT Trimegah Bangun Persada Tbk, Harita Nickel has manifested the spirit of downstreaming as mandated by the government. Since 2015, Harita Nickel has been downstreaming by processing high grade nickel (saprolite) through PT Megah Surya Pertiwi with 4 ferronickel production lines.
" We started to build downstream processing of low-grade limonite nickel in 2018, which previously was treated as over-burden (waste rock) Mixed Hydroide Precipitate," Tonny said. The downstream industry officially operates in June 2021 through its affiliate PT Halmahera Persada Lygend.
Furthermore, another Harita Nickel subsidiary, PT Halmahera Jaya Feronikel (PT HJF) has completed construction of a ferronickel smelter with 8 production lines in the first semester of 2023.
"This downstream spirit is integrated in our business roadmap, which to this day with pride and gratitude, hand in hand with our partners from Lygend Resources Technology Co., Ltd, has successfully reached a new level of achievement by producing nickel sulfate," said Tonny.
Deputy for Investment and Mining Coordination of the Marves Coordinating Ministry, Septian Hario Seto in his speech stated that what Harita Nickel produced was a very extraordinary historic achievement.
"We have repeated the history of 2 years ago with Menko Marves inaugurating the first HPAL factory. This is something to be proud of, where today we will inaugurate nickel sulfate which is a derivative product of nickel which can later be processed into precursors," said Septian.
According to Septian, this success is very impressive and extraordinary because it also shows on how the collaboration of local investors and foreign investors can work well together.
Septian added that HPAL's plant in Obi Island is one of the plants with excellent operational management.
"We see that HPAL plants in the world take years to be able to ramp up capacity but here with this new technology in just a few months can increase capacity," Septian said.
"We also just conducted an audit of the entire mining industry area and Obi is one of the best in terms of management," said Septian.
Septian also advised that good environmental management in Obi Island should be continued. In addition, contributions to the surrounding community as well as CSR programs and targeted community assistance are also to be maintained.
"I think this will create harmony and harmony between company and community," Septian concluded.
Meanwhile Zhang Bao Dong, Director of PT Halmahera Persada Lygend who is also a representative of Lygend Resources Technology Co., Ltd in his speech stated that Lygend is very proud to be able to work with Harita Group and produce HPAL factories to its derivatives, namely nickel sulfate.
"We hope that in the future Harita and Lygend will jointly build a downstream industry to provide a sustainable economic impact," Zhang said.
Constructive efforts, continued Zhang, will continue to be made to develop further downstream from the electric vehicle battery ecosystem originating from Obi Island.
Meanwhile, South Halmahera Regent Usman Sidik expressed his pride in being able to witness PT HPL's success in producing the first nickel sulfate in Indonesia.
"This is extraordinary for us and we hope it will have a positive impact on the people of South Halmahera," Usman said.