Ford has entered a partnership with PT Vale Indonesia and China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt to construct a USD 4.5 billion nickel processing plant in Indonesia. The Pomalaa Block High-Pressure Acid Leaching plant is slated to commence full construction in 2023 and is expected to become operational by 2026. The plant will generate up to 120,000 tons of mixed hydroxide precipitate each year, which is a less expensive type of nickel product widely used in electric vehicle (EV) battery production.
According to Ford, the collaboration will provide crucial materials for the automobile industry’s transition towards electric vehicles, bolster Indonesia’s EV manufacturing sector and help the company achieve its objective of producing two million EVs by the end of 2026. Vale and Huayou Cobalt have already initiated the site preparations for the plant in Pomalaa, South-East Sulawesi, where Vale currently operates the Pomalaa Block mine.
The mixed hydroxide precipitate that the plant will manufacture is scheduled for additional processing to produce nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate Li-ion battery materials, and ternary precursor cathode active materials. The Vice President of Industrialization for Ford Model e EV, Lisa Drake, stated that this collaboration will provide the company with direct oversight of nickel procurement through one of the most cost-effective methods available. Furthermore, this allows Ford to guarantee that the nickel is sourced in line with the company’s sustainability targets, which establish the appropriate environmental, social, and governance standards as it expands.
(Source: Mining Technology)