Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. (B1 Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)

It's Never About Tesla Car Factory: Luhut

BY :HERMAN

FEBRUARY 25, 2021

Jakarta. Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said that the Indonesian government was still in discussion with American electric car maker Tesla about its investment plan in Southeast Asia's largest economy, which never includes a plan for a car manufacturing facility. 

"We never talk about car manufacturing plant," Luhut said on Thursday. 

Instead, Luhut mentioned investment opportunities in sectors that would benefit from Indonesia's nickel resources.

"They actually have six [businesses]. One of them is Tesla electric car. Then there are Starlink, launching pad, hypersonic flights, lithium battery pack, and energy storage, which what we are talking about," he said.

"Why? Indonesia is the largest nickel ore producer in the world, so they acknowledge our potential," Luhut said.

Luhut was trying to dispel speculations that Tesla lost interest in Indonesia might the following news that the company has decided to open a manufacturing car plant in India. 

"So, everyone fussed over nothing regarding the Tesla electric car in India. Also, it is planned for 2025 anyway. Will that happen? We don't know," Luhut said. 

Luhut's comment lifted nickel producers' share prices on Thursday. State-controlled miner Aneka Tambang (Antam) saw its shares traded at Rp 2,950 apiece at 1:43 p.m on Thursday, up 1.38 percent from yesterday's close price. 

Shares of Vale Indonesia, the Canadian mining giant's local unit, rose 0.4 percent to trade at Rp 6,325 apiece. 

Indonesia's electric car battery push has driven the rally in Indonesia's nickel producer in the past three months. Antam shares rose 147 percent over the period, while Vale increased 37.5 percent. 

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said Indonesia was steadfast in its goal to turn the country into a global car battery supplier over the next decade. 

"Apart from the Indonesian market, it has natural resources that must be maintained consistently. One of which is nickel. We don't want raw nickel to be sent abroad. It has to be processed domestically," Erick said. 

Currently, several state-owned companies have joined forces to involve in the plan, including state utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara, miner holding Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), state energy company Pertamina. The state-owned companies established a holding company, called the Indonesia Battery Corporation, to involve in the integrated supply chain, from mining and processing to manufacturing and distribution of the batteries. 

South Korea's LG Energy Solution and China's largest car battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) have agreed to invest in Indonesia, taking part in its battery-making ecosystem.  

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