HHP Law Firm ("HHP") and Baker McKenzie have advised Indonesian nickel mining company PT Vale Indonesia Tbk ("PTVI") in relation to a proposed collaboration between PTVI, battery minerals producer Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. ("Huayou") and automaker Ford Motor Co., to advance more sustainable nickel mining and refining in Indonesia.

At a ceremony held on 30 March 2023, featuring Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, the three companies entered into a suite of definitive agreements pursuant to which equity investments will be made to develop the Pomalaa Block High-Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) Project. Subject to relevant approvals, the project could produce up to 120 kilotons per annum of mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) – a lower-cost nickel product used in EV batteries.

The entry into these agreements is the continuation of PT Vale Indonesia’s Pomalaa Block ground-breaking in November 2022, which was inaugurated by Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. The project is a National Strategic Project with an estimated investment of up to IDR 67.5 trillion, and is expected to generate 12,000 construction jobs.

The HHP and Baker McKenzie team that advised PTVI on this matter was led by Norman Bissett, Tanya Denning and Luke Devine. The team was supported by associates Tom Henderson, Rakhee Dullabh, Laura Matson, Louis Re-Matthews, Tesalonika Barus, Ariel Suryawan, Djuan Sihotang and Baker McKenzie's competition team.

Commenting on the deal, Norman Bissett, Foreign Legal Consultant at HHP, said: "This project will create significant economic benefits for Indonesia, as part of the Government's strategy to further develop a sustainable mining industry - both upstream and downstream. It is an endorsement of Indonesia's ability to attract significant international investment from world-class companies, and a significant stepping stone for Indonesia to be recognized as a high-quality mineral producer for the global EV ecosystem."

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