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Indonesia Proposes Creating An OPEC-Style Group For Nickel Producers

Indonesia, the world’s biggest nickel miner, has proposed to Canada to create a group of the biggest nickel producers similar to the OPEC group “to coordinate and unite nickel commodity policies,” Indonesia’s Ministry of Investment said.

The proposal was made by Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia during a meeting with Canada’s International Trade Minister, Mary Ng, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.   

“Through this collaboration, we hope that all nickel producing countries can benefit an evenly distributed value addition,” the Indonesian minister said as quoted by Reuters.

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Canada’s Ng tweeted about the meeting that she had spoken with Bahlil Lahadalia “about the potential for partnership in developing Indonesia’s critical mineral value chains.”

The Indonesian minister told the Financial Times last month that his country was considering the idea of forming a cartel to manage the supply of nickel and some other key battery metals, similar to what OPEC does for oil. 

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“I do see the merit of creating Opec to manage the governance of oil trade to ensure predictability for potential investors and consumers,” Indonesia’s Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia told the Financial Times in an interview at the end of October.

Back then, Indonesian officials told FT that the country had not yet contacted other nickel-producing countries to discuss the idea of a producer group, adding it was still working on a governance structure of a future alliance that it could propose to other producers.

Indonesia has the laterite type of deposits of nickel, which is lower-grade and requires additional energy-intensive processing to become battery-grade nickel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a July 2022 report, Global Supply Chains of EV Batteries. 

“Although Indonesia produces around 40% of total nickel, little of this is currently used in the EV battery supply chain. The largest Class 1 battery grade nickel producers are Russia, Canada and Australia,” the IEA said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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