China’s Tsingshan Holding Group on Thursday said it had officially started producing nickel matte – an intermediate nickel product that can be further processed into chemicals for electric vehicle (EV) batteries – in Indonesia.
The company sent nickel prices nosediving in March when it announced plans to mass-produce matte and sell it to Huayou Cobalt and CNGR, both of which supply EV battery materials, from October. It had already achieved trial production in 2020.
In a brief statement on its official WeChat account, Tsingshan, the world’s biggest nickel and stainless steel producer, said first commercial matte output at its industrial park in Indonesia was reached on Wednesday.
Making matte from stainless steel raw material nickel pig iron (NPI) and then nickel sulphate provides an alternative route to battery-grade nickel to the high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) process also being used in Indonesia.
Tsingshan had said in March it planned to sell 60,000 tonnes of matte to Huayou and another 40,000 tonnes to CNGR within a year of first production.
In the past two weeks, two other Chinese companies have both announced plans to produce 40,000 tonnes per year of matte in Indonesia.