Vale’s Indonesian arm, PT Vale has announced it is postponing a planned upgrade at the Sorowako nickel mine to May 2021.
The company’s finance director, Bernardus Irmanto said during an extraordinary general meeting on September 7 that the $90mn upgrade was originally supposed to take a few months but has been postponed owing to logistical challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sorowako nickel mine is the world’s largest integrated nickel mining operation, which produced 76,087mt of crude nickel in 2017. An Indonesian government-owned entity, Mining Industry Indonesia (Mind ID) bought a 20pc stake in PT Vale in June, giving it access to the vast nickel reserves of the mine. While Vale still holds a 44.3pc stake, Sumitomo Metals has acquired a 15pc stake in the Indonesian company.
According to media reports, PT Vale also plans to invest in two more projects in 2021. It is developing a ferronickel smelter in the Bahodopi region for which, the company is reportedly negotiating with Chinese investors. It is also planning to invest in a high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) smelter in Pomalaa, in coordination with Sumitomo Metals.