British company Altilium Group announced an agreement with Indo Mineral Research, a member of the Sebuku Group, one of Indonesia’s largest mining groups, to cooperate in the development and promotion of the DNi Process in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest reserves of nickel.

The two companies have agreed to commit financial, technical and logistical resources to accelerate the adoption of the process and to play a key role in the EV battery supply chain.

Discussions are now under way with several parties to construct plants in Indonesia, with the first likely to deliver at least 20,000 tonnes of nickel in mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) a year, sufficient nickel and cobalt for the equivalent of around 500,000 and 250,000 lithium ion batteries, respectively. In addition, the process will produce saleable co-products such as: hematite, magnesium oxide, aluminium hydroxide and scandium oxide.

The lack of sensitivity of the process to ore grade is one feature which has Indonesian resource owners excited, the companies claimed.

Because it can treat all the ore in a laterite mine and extracts all the metals available in that ore the economics of the process make the utilisation of low-grade ores both possible and profitable. Such features also set the process apart from existing metallurgical processes.

The plants will supply markets worldwide. Currently, almost all the hydrometallurgical plants operating in Indonesia, which produce MHP, are Chinese owned or backed HPAL plants which supply China.

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Chris Gower, CEO of Altilium Group, said: “Together, we will help make Indonesia the premier producer of cleaner nickel and other metals which are needed to enable the mass adoption of EVs.”