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By P.R. Venkat

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. and two state-owned companies in Indonesia plan to jointly develop a $6 billion electric-vehicle battery integration project, capitalizing on the bigger shift by the auto industry toward battery-powered vehicles.

A unit of Shenzhen-listed CATL and Indonesia’s PT Aneka Tambang and PT Industri Baterai Indonesia signed an agreement to develop the project in Indonesia’s North Maluku province and other parts of the country, the companies said in a joint statement Friday.

The project will focus on nickel mining and processing, battery materials, battery manufacturing, as well as battery recycling, the statement said.

Global auto makers are pumping in billions of dollars to establish EV factories and lithium-ion battery plants, as the demand for electric-powered vehicles gathers pace. Governments all over the world are also giving an increased push toward e-mobility as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet climate change goals.

In January, General Motors Co. announced plans for a multibillion-dollar investment to produce electric pick-up trucks in Michigan. The U.S. company plans to spend $4 billion to convert an assembly factory to build plug-in trucks and will split the cost of the $2.6 billion battery factory with its South Korean partner LG Energy Solution Ltd.

CATL said the Indonesian project will expand its footprint and ensure the supply of upstream raw materials and resources, cut manufacturing costs and promote the development of the battery recycling business.

For CATL, the Indonesian project will be the second venture outside of China. Earlier this month, it said the company got approval for commissioning a new plant for battery cell production from the state of Thuringia in Germany. CATL expects to roll out the first cells by the end of this year.

China’s EV vehicle market is also booming, with companies like Tesla Inc., XPeng Inc. and Nio Inc. all having factories in the mainland. Some analysts expect new-energy vehicles will account for 80% of the country’s auto sales by 2030.

“The framework agreement we signed today is of significant importance to Indonesia as we strive to build out an EV ecosystem,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said.

Write to P.R. Venkat at [email protected]

Source: This post first appeared on http://marketwatch.com/

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