Obi Island Industrial Area is a pioneer for downstreaming Indonesian nickel

Kawasan Industri Pulau Obi jadi Pionir bagi Hilirisasi Nikel Indonesia

It is widely acknowledged that Indonesia stands among the countries blessed with abundant mining commodities, notably nickel. In fact, data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) projects Indonesia to be the world’s leading nickel producer in 2022.

This status as the foremost nickel producer marks a significant boon for the Indonesian economy, particularly as the demand for nickel is anticipated to surge, driven by the ongoing global trend toward the electric vehicle industry.

As we look ahead to 2023, nickel emerges as a focal point in discussions about natural resource commodities. The rationale lies in nickel’s integral role in battery production, contributing to the manufacturing of electronic devices such as televisions, irons, and laptops, while also serving as a fundamental raw material for the steel industry.

Recognizing the immense potential, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) took decisive action by implementing a ban on companies holding mining business permits (IUP) from exporting nickel ore overseas. This measure was enacted to stimulate the mining processing industry, compelling it to enhance the value of mining materials before exportation.

Addressing these challenges, PT Trimegah Bangun Persada TBK (TBP), commonly known as Harita Nickel, constructed a nickel ore smelter equipped with Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace (RKEF) technology. This facility commenced operations in 2016 in the Obi Island area, South Halmahera Regency, North Maluku.

A stalwart in the nickel industry since 2010, Harita Nickel once again assumed a pioneering role by inaugurating the first nickel sulfate production operation in Indonesia, establishing itself as the largest such facility globally.

The advent of this smelter and integrated downstream operations initiated by Harita Nickel translated into substantial economic growth for Indonesia and the North Maluku Province. According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) of North Maluku Province, economic growth in the region surged by 23.89 percent in the second quarter of 2023 compared to 2022. President Jokowi even asserted that North Maluku’s economic growth is among the highest globally.

“The highest economic growth in the world is North Maluku at 27 percent,” said Jokowi at the 2022 Bank Indonesia Annual Meeting at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday (30/11/2022).

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan echoed this sentiment, stating that throughout 2022, the national value of nickel exports is projected to reach USD 33.81 billion, approximately IDR 507 trillion. This staggering figure signifies a remarkable 745 percent increase from the export value recorded in 2017 when Indonesia solely exported raw nickel ore materials.

Image source >>> Harita Nickel

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