#Sumitomo Metal Mining Withdraws from #Indonesia #Nickel Project, which May Exacerbate Battery-Grade Nickel Supply Tightness
SHANGHAI, Apr 29 (SMM) – Japanese refined metals supplier Sumitomo Metal Mining has pulled out of a planned high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) project with PT Vale Indonesia, which could lead to further delays in the project, exacerbating supply risks to an already tight battery-grade nickel market. On April 25, Sumitomo Metal Mining announced the end of a nearly ten-year partnership with PT Vale to develop the project. Sumitomo Metal Mining said it had disagreements with PT Vale over construction timelines and costs. PT Vale is reportedly looking for new partners, without naming any specific companies. The two companies submitted an environmental impact study for the project as early as 2015, with construction originally expected to start in 2018 and production expected to commence in 2023. Initial plans included an annual production of 40,000 mt of mixed nickel sulphide. The nickel industry looks to HPAL technology to increase the supply of battery-grade nickel as growth from traditional sulphide sources is limited.