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Tesla’s nickel plans in Indonesia meets opposition from environmental groups

Credit: @jokowi/Twitter

Tesla’s apparent nickel plans in Indonesia have met a challenge from environmental groups urging the Texas-based electric vehicle maker to reconsider its plans to invest in the country’s nickel industry. According to the groups, Tesla’s support for Indonesia’s nickel mining could result in more damage to the country’s environment.

The environmental groups expressed their arguments in a six-page open letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Tesla shareholders. Signed by several dozen organizations, the letter urged Tesla to terminate its nickel plans in the country and bar nickel produced from Indonesia from the company’s products.

As noted by the groups, Indonesia’s nickel mining activities are notorious for their environmental impact, as it harms the nation’s forests, pollutes the water, and compromises the lives of indigenous communities.

The groups outlined their requests to Tesla in their conclusions.

We understand that Tesla has invested heavily in its supply chain and battery that is generated from nickel and consider it as ‘green’ investment. However, the nickel industry in Indonesia has a record of environmental damage, criminalization threats that abuse democracy and equity, the threats to the vulnerable groups, and multiple violations of law.

In the spirit of encouraging improvements to environmental, social, and human rights protections in Indonesia, we hereby urge Elon Musk and the shareholders of Tesla Inc. to consider the following recommendations:

  1. Terminate any potential direct investment plan in the nickel industry in Indonesia because the ongoing practices from the nickel industry reveal potential widespread damage to both the environment and the communities in Indonesia.
  2. Prohibit nickel sourced and produced in Indonesia in every business line of Tesla Inc. to prevent perpetuating the widespread damage to both the environment and communities in Indonesia.
  3. Ensure the business lines of Tesla Inc. comply with fundamental principles of business implementation and human rights as provided by the United Nations to prevent the violation of human rights perpetrated in business operations.

Indonesia is one of the world’s largest nickel producers, holding nearly a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves. The country has expressed its interest in a partnership with Tesla, with CEO Elon Musk hosting several delegates from the country at Gigafactory Texas earlier this year. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has also personally visited Elon Musk at Starbase, Texas.

Neither Tesla nor the Indonesian government has issued a response to the environmental groups’ request.

The group’s open letter to Elon Musk and Tesla shareholders can be viewed below.

2022.07.25 Letter to Tesla Re Nickel Mining WALHI by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla’s nickel plans in Indonesia meets opposition from environmental groups
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