As Tesla ramps its efforts to acquire more resources for its battery production initiatives, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has revealed that he is sending a high-level delegation to meet with the electric car maker’s top executives next week. The talks will likely involve a potential battery facility deal in Indonesia, a country that stands as the world’s largest nickel producer.
In a statement to Reuters on Friday, the president, better known by his nickname, Jokowi, stated that the trip will be part of Indonesia’s promotion of its “Omnibus” Job Creation law, which is aimed at simplifying how companies can do business in the country. The “Omnibus” initiative harmonizes 79 existing laws, significantly cutting red tape and potentially spurring investments from interested businesses.
The delegation that will be meeting with Tesla executives next week will include high-ranking officials, with the team being led by Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan. “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),” Jokowi said.
In another interview, Luhut noted that he and his team will not only be meeting with Tesla executives; the Indonesian delegation will also be holding meetings with the World Bank and US fund managers. The meeting will largely involve the country’s “Omnibus” law and its environmental projects. While Luhut declined to provide details about his team’s upcoming meeting with Tesla, he did state that “there is a really good chance” that companies would want to invest in Indonesian nickel to save on costs.
Such a pitch would likely be perceived positively by Tesla, considering that CEO Elon Musk has pretty much issued an open call for nickel producers across the globe. Musk has stated that Tesla is poised to give massive, long-term contracts to nickel producers, provided that the material is mined “efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way.” Luhut, for his part has noted that Indonesia is aiming to make the supply chain of batteries environmentally-friendly in seven to eight years by powering smelters with renewable sources.
Previous reports have indicated that Tesla may be planning on building a dedicated battery factory in Indonesia, on account of the country’s massive nickel supply. In a statement to CNBC Indonesia last month, Minister of Industry (Menperin) Agus Gumiwang stated that talks with Tesla are ongoing for a potential battery factory in the Batang area. These points were previously highlighted by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment General TNI (Purn) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who noted that he had already spoken with the American electric car maker.
Ayodhia Kalake, a senior official at Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment, has also noted that Tesla had reached out to the government about a potential venture in the country. “It was still an early discussion and was not detailed yet. We need further discussion with Tesla,” the senior official said.