31 May 2023
SOUTH HALMAHERA, May 31, 2023 — Harita Nickel, through its business unit PT Halmahera Persada Lygend (PT HPL), a business affiliate of PT Trimegah Bangun Persada Tbk (NCKL), has once again become a pioneer in the nickel downstream industry by inaugurating the first nickel sulfate production operation in Indonesia, which is also the largest in the world. The inauguration of the nickel sulfate production operation, with a capacity of 240 thousand tons per year, took place in the operational area of Harita Nickel on Obi Island, South Halmahera Regency, North Maluku Province, on Wednesday, May 31st, 2023. Nickel sulfate is a primary material used in the production of cathode precursors for electric vehicle batteries.
The inauguration of the nickel sulfate production operation was marked by the unveiling of a plaque, with the signing ceremony conducted by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, represented by the Deputy for Investment and Mining Coordination, Septian Hario Seto. This was followed by an inspection of the nickel sulfate production operations at the PT HPL plant, which utilizes High Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) technology. Present at the inauguration event were the Regent of South Halmahera, Usman Sidik, as well as the management team of Harita Group and Lygend Resources Technology Co. Ltd.
In his speech, Tonny H. Gultom, the Director of PT Halmahera Persada Lygend, stated that Harita Nickel, in collaboration with Lygend Resources Technology Co., Ltd, has once again made a new milestone after producing Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP) as a raw material for electric vehicle batteries in June 2021, thus becoming a pioneer in the industry in Indonesia. “Today, we have achieved yet a new historic milestone, where all of you will witness the inauguration of the nickel sulfate (NiSO4.6H2O) plant, which is also produced by PT Halmahera Persada Lygend,” Tonny said.
Tonny claims that the nickel sulfate plant established on Obi Island will be the first of its kind in Indonesia and the largest in the world in terms of production capacity. “In terms of NiSO4 production capacity, the company will continue to refine and increase its capacity to reach 240,000 metric tons per year with a nickel metal content of 54,000 tons per year, targeted to be achieved in mid-Q2 2023,” Tonny stated. The inaugural export of nickel sulfate is planned to take place in June 2023.
Tonny revealed that on the mineral-rich Obi Island, Harita Nickel has consistently built an integrated mining industry from upstream to downstream. Starting with mining activities in 2010 through PT Trimegah Bangun Persada Tbk, Harita Nickel has embraced the government's mandate for downstream development. Since 2015, Harita Nickel has pursued downstream operations by processing high-grade nickel (saprolite) through PT Megah Surya Pertiwi, which operates 4 (four) ferronickel production lines.
“In 2018, we began to build downstream processing for low-grade limonite nickel, which had been treated as overburden, into Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate,” Tonny explained. This downstream industry officially commenced operations in June 2021 through the affiliate company PT Halmahera Persada Lygend. Furthermore, another subsidiary of Harita Nickel, PT Halmahera Jaya Feronikel (PT HJF), has completed the construction of a ferronickel smelter with 8 production lines in the first semester of 2023.
“This downstream development spirit is integrated into the form of a business roadmap, which until today, with pride and gratitude, hand in hand with our partner from Lygend Resources Technology Co., Ltd, has successfully reached a new milestone with the production of nickel sulfate,” Tonny emphasized.
On the other hand, Septian Hario Seto, the Deputy for Investment and Mining Coordination of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, stated that Harita Nickel's achievements were truly remarkable and historic. “We are repeating history from two years ago when we inaugurated the first HPAL plant together with the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment. This is something to be proud of, as today we are inaugurating nickel sulfate, which is a derivative product of nickel that can be further processed into precursors,” said Septian. According to him, this success is highly impressive and exceptional as it demonstrates how local and foreign investors can collaborate effectively.
Septian added that the HPAL plant on Obi Island is one of the plants with excellent operational management. “If we look at HPAL plants worldwide, it takes years for them to ramp up their capacity, but here, with this new technology, we were able to increase the capacity within a few months,” he said. “We have also recently conducted an audit of the entire mining industry area, and Obi Island stands out as one of the best in terms of its management,” Septian explained.
Septian also advised that the good environmental management on Obi Island should continue. Furthermore, he highlighted the significance of contributing to the local community, implementing targeted CSR programs, and providing effective community assistance. “I believe this will create harmony and mutual understanding between the company and the community,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Zhang Bao Dong, the Director of PT Halmahera Persada Lygend and representative of Lygend Resources Technology Co., Ltd, expressed in his speech that Lygend is proud to collaborate with Harita Group and achieve the HPAL plant and its derivative, nickel sulfate.
“We sincerely hope that in the future, Harita and Lygend will collaborate to build downstream industries and create a sustainable economic impact,” said Zhang. He further expressed his commitment to continue constructive efforts in developing further downstream activities within the electric vehicle battery ecosystem originating from Obi Island.
Meanwhile, the Regent of South Halmahera, Usman Sidik, expressed his pride in witnessing PT HPL’s success as the first nickel sulfate producer in Indonesia. “This is extraordinary for us, and we hope it will positively impact the people of South Halmahera,” Usman said.