Tesla (TSLA) inches closer to battery factory deal in Indonesia

Tesla (TSLA) is apparently inching closer to a deal to build a battery factory in Indonesia, as the country’s top officials say they are going to meet with Tesla executives next week.

Last month, we reported on Tesla allegedly being in talks with the Indonesian government to build a new nickel venture in the country, which has a strong nickel reserve.

Recently,  CEO Elon Musk pleaded with mining companies to increase their nickel production.

Later, we also learned that Tesla was actually in talks with Indonesia not just about nickel, but to possibly build a full battery factory in the country.

As we detailed in our previous report on Tesla’s interest in Indonesia, the country is one of the world’s biggest nickel producers, but it has also recently put a ban on exporting nickel ore in order to encourage the industry to process it locally.

It results in companies deploying more production capacity in Indonesia in order to take advantage of the country’s nickel reserves.

Now Indonesian president Joko Widodo said that it is sending a delegation to the US to meet with top Tesla executives about the project (via Reuters):

Indonesian president Joko Widodo said he will send a high-level team next week to meet with top executives of US automaker Tesla as the Southeast Asian country aims to become the world’s biggest producer of electric vehicle batteries.

Widodo said about the meeting with Tesla:

It’s very important because we have a great plan to make Indonesia the biggest producer of lithium batteries and we have the biggest nickel [reserves].

Tesla has been trying to secure more nickel lately to support its ambitious battery supply plan — bought through battery suppliers, like Panasonic and CATL, and now through its own new effort to build its own battery cells.

In September, there was a report that Tesla was talking with Giga Metals, a junior mining company working on a carbon-neutral nickel mine in Canada.

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