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Bukaka Builds $2 Billion Nickel Smelter Powered by River Water

  • Nickel sulfate plant will use hydropower and supply to POSCO
  • Top nickel producer Indonesia seeks its own EV supply chain
A dump truck travels along an access road near nickel mines in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

A dump truck travels along an access road near nickel mines in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Bukaka Teknik Utama is building $2 billion of nickel smelters powered by river water, as its parent company seeks to enter the booming electric-vehicle battery industry.

The Indonesian company that’s part of Kalla Group, held by former vice president Jusuf Kalla, is constructing plants on the eastern island of Sulawesi to produce ferronickel and nickel sulfate, which is a key material for making batteries. The group will supply all 31,400 tons of nickel sulfate produced by the plant each year to South Korea’s POSCO Holdings Inc. The facility will also produce 33,000 tons of ferronickel for stainless steel.