SHANGHAI, Jul 16 (SMM) – Nickel pig iron is expected to replace nickel ore as major raw material exported from Indonesia to China, for nickel and stainless steel production, as Indonesia reiterated that it will stop raw ore exports in 2022.
Chinese producers of NPI and stainless nickel that only have plants in China are likely to prefer nickel ore from the Philippines.
Indonesia is expected to follow through its plan to ban on raw mineral exports in 2022, as it expects to have adequate smelting facilities by then.
Director general at the Energy and Mineral Resources ministry, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, said on Monday July 8 during a hearing with the House of Representatives that Indonesia will no longer be required to export raw material and the downstream projects can be carried out optimally from 2022, according to a report last week.
The comments from Ariyono reinforced expectations that Indonesia will revive its ban on exports of nickel ore from 2022.
China imported 44.47 million mt of nickel ore in 2018, with 14.16 million mt from Indonesia and 28.19 million mt from the Philippines, according to SMM calculations based on China Customs data.
Data from the ministry showed that there will be 41 smelters in operation in 2022, including 22 nickel smelters. Currently, there are seven smelters in operation in Indonesia, with NPI capacity of 322,200 mt in Ni content on an annualised basis. Indonesian capacity is likely to expand to 656,252 mt in Ni content by 2022.