Indonesia: Is a new coal power plant being built on Obi Island?
An article on BRProject last week stated that Energy China and Tianjin Electric Power Construction Company recently won a tender for a 4x380MW “power island” project on Obi Island in Indonesia’s North Maluku province. The project is located in a laterite nickel and cobalt mine, invested in by Chinese company Lygend and Indonesia’s Harita Group.
The BRProject article states that the “power island” project will “solve the issue of the nickel and cobalt industry’s electricity demand.” An earlier piece of Chinese media report revealed that the Lygend/Harita Obi Island project will include a 4200MW coal fired power plant.
In short, this power island project looks very much like the component of a new coal power plant project. If this is the case, how it fits with China’s pledge to stop building coal fired power plants abroad is a pressing question. Experts have long considered captive power plants (off-grid projects that mainly serve as power sources for industrial projects) an ambiguous area for the pledge.
The article on BRProject is low on detail. If any of our readers have any more information on this project, please let us know. It could be another important case in understanding the exact scope of China’s no-new-coal policy overseas.
Background: The Obi nickel and cobalt project is a USD 1.05 billion project which aims to bring to market 160,000 tonnes of nickel sulfate and 20,000 tonnes of cobalt sulfate per year after the completion of the first phase, and up to 240,000 tonnes of nickel sulfate and 30,000 tonnes of cobalt sulfate per year after the completion of the second phase. The project uses the high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) method of mineral extraction from laterite ore, an energy intensive process.