Indonesia Seeks to Deepen Critical Minerals Partnership With Australia

by | 3. Jul 2023 - 10:42 | Finances

The fourth most populous country on Earth wants to import more raw materials from its Southern ally.

Indonesia seeks to import more critical minerals from Australia to supply its growing electromobility sector. President Joko Widodo will visit Sydney from 3 to 5 July and meet with his Australian counterpart Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss the partnership between the two countries.

Widodo ordered state officials to use electric vehicles in September 2022, followed by the unveiling of his plans to transform Indonesia into a major player in the EV ecosystem. Indonesia has the largest deposits of nickel in the world. It is also the biggest producer of the critical mineral used as a cathode in many EV batteries, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. However, the Southeast Asian country banned raw nickel export in 2020 to gain more control of downstream processes. This was followed by the announcement to ban the export of bauxite in 2022. These trade restrictions are part of the Indonesian goal to boost its downstream industry as exports must be in refined forms now. In addition, curbing exports also enables the country to progress toward its target of becoming part of the EV ecosystem.

Besides Nickel and Bauxite, Indonesia also has some amounts of copper and other raw materials required for EV-battery production. However, Indonesia lacks lithium. Australia, on the other hand, is the world’s biggest supplier of lithium, accounting for almost 50 percent of the total global production. Widodo now pushes to partner with Australia on lithium, arguing that it would benefit both economies, and the partnership could extend into other fields as well.

Ahead of Widodo’s three-day visit to Australia from 3 to 5 July, the two governments issued statements emphasizing the importance of extensive cooperation on climate, economic development, education, and regional security issues.

Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

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