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Freeport's Manyar smelter to pave way for Indonesia's EV ecosystem

Jakarta Globe - January 27, 2023

Jakarta – Mining giant Freeport Indonesia recently said that its smelter for copper – a critical component for electric vehicle or EV production – at the Java Integrated Industrial and Port Estate in Gresik would finish construction by the end of this year.

Once completed, the Manyar Smelter could give a major boost to Indonesia's dream of building an EV ecosystem. The construction is halfway done, specifically 51.7 percent complete as of the end of December 2022.

"So the downstream and upstream sectors would become one. Refining copper domestically would boost the added values for the copper concentrate from the current 95 percent to 100 percent," Freeport Indonesia president director Tony Wenas told BTV in a recent interview.

"And also contribute to the EV ecosystem that is currently being built in Indonesia. Copper will play a pivotal role in the EV ecosystem," Tony said.

The $3 billion Manyar Smelter is expected to process 1.7 million tons of copper concentrates a year. Freeport's existing smelter PT Smelting has an annual capacity of a million tons of copper concentrates. Combined, Freeport Indonesia's copper concentrate processing capacity can reach 3 million tons a year.

Freeport Indonesia claimed the Manyar plant would become the world's largest single-line smelter. The Manyar Smelter is slated to begin commercial operations in end-2024, marking the end of copper concentrate ore exports from Freeport Indonesia.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is ramping up Indonesia's domestic unprocessed mineral ore smelting for greater added value to the economy and also to build the country's EV ecosystem.

According to Investor Daily, the metals needed for EV battery production include graphites (28.1 percent), aluminum (18.9 percent), nickel (15.7 percent), copper (10.8 percent), steel (10.8 percent), manganese (5.4 percent), cobalt (4.3 percent), lithium (3.2 percent), and iron (2.7 percent). Most of these metals can be found in Indonesia.

Jokowi earlier this year also signaled that a full ban on unprocessed copper would be in place starting in mid-2023. Jokowi said that he wanted his successor to carry on with the downstream policy, despite opposition from the European Union (EU).

Since 2020, Indonesia has banned the export of unprocessed nickel ores – another crucial component for EV batteries. The decision led to the EU filing a lawsuit against Indonesia at the World Trade Organization. Indonesia lost the nickel lawsuit but has launched an appeal.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/freeports-manyar-smelter-to-pave-way-for-indonesias-ev-ecosyste