Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The state of Western Australia says that it wants to help make Indonesia – its close neighbor that is also abundant in nickel – one of the key players in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, particularly its components such as batteries.
The Western Australian government and Indonesia's business lobby group Kadin not long ago agreed to explore cooperation on the critical mineral supply chain. They even signed an action plan in July as a follow-up to this partnership. According to Western Australian Premier Roger Cook, this partnership will likely see some progress over the next year.
"We are expecting that over the next 12 months to see those letters of intent to lead to strong contracts," Cook told reporters on the sidelines of the 2023 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) in Jakarta on Sunday.
"We know how Indonesia wants to play a key role in the development of EVs and its other components. Western Australia wants to be part of that supply chain. So we can continue to assist our Indonesian partners to be leaders in EV manufacturing," Cook said.
Cook said that the resource-rich state had all the necessary critical minerals for battery production.
"We aspire to be an important part of the global supply chain, particularly here in Indonesia.... Western Australia is a strong investment partner for Indonesia and ASEAN in general.... Western Australia, particularly our capital Perth, is closer to Jakarta than we are to Sydney," he said.
Cook is not alone on his Jakarta trip. He also brought a hundred of Western Australian delegates who would have business-matching talks with the Indonesian private sector. And there is a chance for these talks to pave the way for some actual business deals.
A 2023 US Geological Survey report puts Indonesia and Australia as the two countries with the world's largest nickel reserves, standing at 21 million metric tons, respectively. Indonesia's nickel mines produced 1.6 million metric tons in 2022, while Australia's production of the silvery-white metal totaled 160,000 metric tons that year.
Half of the world's lithium is being produced in Western Australia. It is also a major exporter of nickel, cobalt, manganese, and rare earths. In 2021, all of the country's lithium production came from Western Australia. The 2023 US Geological Survey data shows that Australia's lithium reserves totaled 6.2 million metric tons. Australia's lithium production rose from 55,300 metric tons in 2021 to 61,000 metric tons the following year.
Lithium and nickel are pivotal to EV battery production.