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Indonesia’s Nickel Ban Shows Resource Nationalism on the March

  • Jakarta backs total ban on exports of nickel ore from Jan. 1
  • Move is tied to push for development of local battery industry
Production at a nickel plant, in Sorowako, South sulawesi, Indonesia.

Production at a nickel plant, in Sorowako, South sulawesi, Indonesia.

Photographer: Hariandi Hafid/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Indonesia will enforce a complete ban on the export of raw nickel ore from Jan. 1, two years earlier than planned, as the nation seeks to lock in supplies for dozens of smelters that are under construction and buttress a drive to build out local processing capacity, an official said.

The suspension is also in line with a plan to preserve low-grade nickel ore containing cobalt and lithium for use in electric batteries, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, director general for mineral and coal at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, told reporters on Monday. Miners with outstanding permits to export nickel ore may ship the mineral until the year-end, he said.