White & Case advises Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt on investment in Indonesia nickel production project in collaboration with Ford and PT Vale Indonesia

Press Release
2 min read

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised China's Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co., Ltd on an agreement with global automaker Ford Motor Company and nickel producer PT Vale Indonesia Tbk, creating a three-party collaboration to jointly invest in the Pomalaa Block High-Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) Project.

"This important project will advance more sustainable nickel production in Indonesia and support an accelerated energy transition by reducing the cost of nickel for electric vehicles," said White & Case partner John Tivey, who led the Firm's deal team. "The mining & metals sector continues to play a vital part in the global energy transition and requires advisors who bring sector knowledge as well as cross-border and cross-practice capabilities to these complex projects."

The Pomalaa HPAL Project will process ore sourced from PT Vale Indonesia's Pomalaa nickel laterite mine into mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP), a key ingredient used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries with nickel-rich cathodes. The collaboration will improve the automotive industry's access to battery-grade nickel, advance Indonesia's efforts to diversify and expand its EV value chain and support Ford's plan to deliver a 2 million EV production run rate by the end of 2026. Full construction is expected to start at the beginning of 2024.

The development of Pomalaa mine and associated processing facilities is a National Strategic Project in Indonesia, with an investment of Indonesian rupiah 67.5 trillion. It is expected to generate 12,000 construction jobs.

"This deal builds on Indonesia's success in attracting investment into nickel refining and allows it to move up the electric vehicle value chain. It also further develops Huayou's industry-leading ability to deploy the complex high pressure acid leaching technology, demonstrating the growing integration of mining & metals companies and supply chains with automakers and industrial end-users," said White & Case partner Paul Tang, who was part of the Firm's deal team. "The project also marks the first integrated joint venture between a leading Chinese mining company and a western automaker."

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partner John Tivey (Melbourne) and included partners Paul Tang, Eugene Man (both Hong Kong), Joanne Emerson Taqi (Sydney), Matthew Osborne, Charles McConnell (both Singapore), Bingna Guo (Beijing, Shanghai), Tim Power, Aldrin De Zilva (both Melbourne) and James Killick (Brussels), local partner James Hsiao (Hong Kong), counsel Michael Rogers (Houston) and Rika Rusman (Jakarta) and associates Xuefeng Wu (New York), Tiffany Leach, Charles Tuckwell, Beatrice Ho, Thuy Finch (all Melbourne), Ostiane Goh-Livorness, Katelyn Chia, Lisa Yeo (all Singapore), Yuiyee Wong (Hong Kong), Iakovos Sarmas (Brussels) and Fatah Adzkia (Jakarta).

Read the press release in Chinese version here

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