CATL, one of the world's largest lithium-ion battery cell manufacturers, might soon invest around $5 billion in a new plant in Indonesia, according to Indonesia’s deputy minister (via Reuters).

It would be a massive facility, which raises the question, why pick Indonesia? Well, Indonesia has a lot of nickel, but it doesn't want to simply sell it, but rather would like to see it processed locally (at least most of it).

The production of new batteries could start as early as 2024 according to the deputy minister, Septian Hario Set.

"“The target is that they (CATL) will invest around $5 billion... and the first production of batteries can be done in 2024,” Septian said.

He said CATL has signed an agreement with Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang requiring CATL to ensure 60% of nickel be processed into batteries in Indonesia.

“We don’t want them to get our nickel but then process it abroad,” he said."

Time will tell whether CATL will really be tempted by the rich supplies of nickel laterite ore, since in  the most recent years, most of the new battery plants are simply placed close to electric car assembly lines.

We can see it, especially in Europe, but also in the U.S. (in Michigan - GM/LG Chem or Georgia - SK Innovation).

In June, Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board announced that LG Chem is considering an investment and most recently they also engaged with Tesla, which is expected to send a delegation in January 2021.

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