PT Halmahera Persada Lygend has recently commissioned construction work at its nickel sulphate project, located on the Obi Islands in the Indonesian province of North Maluku, with its contractor CNCEC. The company is a joint venture between Indonesian business conglomerate Harita Group and Chinese mining investment company Ningbo Lygend. The project will utilise HPAL technology and target total production capacity of 240ktpy nickel sulphate and 30ktpy cobalt sulphate by 2023 following two-phase construction, with an estimated total CAPEX of US$1.5Bn.
With autoclaves being installed at the site late last year, and construction work for the downstream sulphate plant commissioned recently, Roskill sees the Lygend nickel project as one of the most advanced integrated HPAL projects in Indonesia, and globally.
The company targets first production of mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate (MHP) in late 2020 and first production of nickel sulphate in Q1 2021. After reaching its full design capacity, the project is likely to become the largest nickel sulphate operation in the world with 52ktpy nickel-in-sulphate, equivalent to nearly one-third of global supply in 2019 for this battery chemical.
The HPAL plant will benefit from locally-sourced laterite ore, with Harita and Lygend both owning stakes in nearby nickel mining operations. The laterite ore will be converted to a hydroxide intermediate via the HPAL process, before being further refined and purified to nickel sulphate via solvent extraction and crystallisation at the same fully integrated site. Nickel sulphate will then be shipped to Asia or other countries, mainly for use in EV batteries.
Roskill expects to see a very large supply response in the nickel sulphate market due to rising adoption of EVs and a shift to nickel-rich batteries. In spite of recent headwinds from COVID-19 affecting EV demand and delaying construction of new projects in Indonesia and elsewhere, the long-term outlook for nickel sulphate remains positive, evidenced by active capacity expansions/build-up from both integrated and non-integrated producers in Asia and Europe.
Roskill’s NEW Nickel Sulphate: Outlook to 2029, 3rd Edition report is due to be published in April 2020 and will forecast trends in supply, demand and pricing over the next decade. The report will provide detailed profiles for new potential producers and analyse the availability of various feedstock types, including recycling from different sectors. Click to download the brochure and sample pages for each report, or to access further information.