December 12, 2020

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Tesla, the U.S. automaker, will send delegations to Indonesia next month to discuss potential investment in a supply chain for its electric vehicles, the government said on Saturday in a statement.

President Joko Widodo has touted Indonesia’s nickel reserves on a number of occasions, telling Reuters last month that “it’s very important because we have a great plan to make Indonesia the biggest producer of lithium batteries and we have the biggest nickel (reserves).”

The president and Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime and investment, were on a call with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday to discuss “investment opportunities from electric vehicles company Tesla in Indonesia,” the ministry said.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Luhut told Reuters last month that “there is a really good chance” that companies will want to invest in Indonesian nickel processing to cut costs.

Musk has said he is planning to offer a ‘giant contract for a long period of time” so long as the nickel is mined “efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way”.

Indonesia is keen to develop a full supply chain for nickel at home, especially for extracting battery chemicals, making batteries and eventually building EVs.

(Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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