French miner Eramet will partner with German chemicals company BASF to set up a nickel and cobalt refining complex near the former’s Weda Bay nickel project.
The new partners have signed an agreement to assess the development of the refinery, which will include a high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) plant and a base metal refinery (BMR) that will produce about 42,000mt of nickel and 5,000mt of cobalt annually.
The metals will be used to produce cathodes to meet the rising demand for high-nickel cathodes in the electric vehicle battery market. Eramet is expecting to start operations at the HPAL and BMR plant in the next five to six years.
The French miner expects to produce more than 5mn dmt of nickel ore in 2020 from its Weda Bay mine in Indonesia, along with its mine in New Caledonia, operated by SLN, a subsidiary of Eramet.