PT Vale Indonesia, a subsidiary of Brazilian mining company Vale, has entered a cooperation agreement with Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and PT Huali Nickel Indonesia, to build high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) facilities to be located in Malili, East Luwu, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

The aim is to develop facilities with 60,000 tonnes of nickel and around 5,000 tonnes of cobalt annually in mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) products. These products will further be processed into electric vehicle batteries.

PT Vale Indonesia CEO Febriany Eddy said: “This co-operation is in line with Indonesia’s vision to build a domestic EV ecosystem and makes PT Vale an important contributor toward addressing the world’s decarbonisation challenge, with an investment that will generate local economic benefits and ensure the optimal utilisation of Indonesia’s nickel resources.”

Construction on the Malili HPAL project is expected to start immediately after securing all the required permits.

Huayou chairman Chen Xuehua said: “This cooperation is another perfect combination of Huayou Cobalt’s world-leading, green and low-carbon HPAL technology, Indonesia rich nickel resource advantage and PT Vale’s sustainable mining practices.

“Through the cooperation, Huayou will realise low-carbon, green and sustainable resource development through rigorous ESG practices, and add strength to the development of the new energy industry and also contribute to the economic and social development of Indonesia, as well as the global EV industry and its supply chain.”

The latest move follows the agreement signed by PT Vale and Huayou with American automaker Ford Motor for nickel production from Pomalaa HPAL facility in March this year.

Construction on the Pomalaa facility began last November. Located in Kolaka Regency, Southeast Sulawesi, the project will produce up to 120,000 tonnes of nickel annually, when completed.

In February this year, PT Vale started construction on nickel mining and processing project in Morowali, Central Sulawesi.