China-based Lygend Resources & Technology Co Limited has postponed the start of its nickel smelter in eastern Indonesia for six months until March 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down work, according to media reports citing company officials.
The plant was earlier scheduled to begin operations in Q3 FY20.
The Lygend plant is located on Obi Island and is one of the few Chinese high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) projects for processing nickel ore in Indonesia.
The plant will produce mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) that contains both nickel and cobalt. It is expecting to reach its annual capacity of 30,000mt-37,000mt in the second half of 2021.
The company has caught global market attention since 2018 due to its low budget and ambitious start-up targets. It is also planning to start another plant in Indonesia to produce nickel pig iron that is used for steel production by March-May, 2022. It will have an annual capacity of 80,000mt-85,000mt.
Indonesia has banned the exports of nickel ore to develop a full nickel supply chain, from extraction, processing into metals and chemicals used in batteries, to building electric vehicles.