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Indonesia pitches EV battery plant plan to Elon Musk

DENPASAR (AP) – Indonesia’s top investment official said yesterday that the government has proposed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk the construction of an electric vehicle battery plant in the nickel-rich country.

The official spoke after Musk met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo while attending a water conference on the island of Bali.

“We made an offer, is it possible to build an EV battery factory, precursor to cathodes, here. And he said he will consider it,” Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, told reporters.

Indonesia is keen to build up industries to exploit is rich natural resources, which include the world’s largest nickel reserves. Nickel is an important material for EV batteries and solar panels.

The billionaire head of Tesla and SpaceX and owner of social platform X was visiting the Indonesian resort island to launch a Starlink satellite internet service there.

He also spoke to officials and experts attending the conference on global water challenges, saying he believed that desalination could solve water shortages if enough energy was provided.

Indonesia supplies 40 per cent of the world’s nickel and has the potential to increase this to 75 per cent by 2030, according to the government data.

Elon Musk at the 10th World Water Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. PHOTO: AFP