In neighboring Indonesia, nickel extraction is causing environmental and social devastation.

What is happening in Indonesia is part of a recurring global pattern in countries where battery materials are abundant. Local residents in Chile, Argentina, Congo, and elsewhere complain of environmental destruction, and dangerous or exploitative working conditions. The RLS study’s authors argue that it is crucial to look at the material footprint of the EV industry against the promised decrease in carbon emissions. In the Global South, where most of the raw materials for EV batteries are sourced, “the rising demand for electric vehicles is threatening to worsen existing injustices in the extractive industry,” they wrote.

And while these places bear the brunt of the immediate environmental fallout, they are not set to benefit the most from the extraction and manufacturing of rare earth minerals — areas mostly dominated by Chinese businesses.


Whatever the company’s nationality, they will just fuck up the environment, local community (illness, children born with defects, …), and their subsistence when governement just lets those industries do whatever they want. Chinese business worldwide are no different than American/western; it is worth noticing that Chinese in some countries owns a great amount of industries, undermining the national businesses. This is just a modern form of colonization.

Both IMIP and IWIP are primarily owned by Chinese company Tsingshan Holding Group, which has been investing heavily in Indonesia’s nickel facilities since 2013. It has become the norm for Chinese companies seeking to get involved in the nickel-processing business in Indonesia to work with Tsingshan and its partners. Although the group reportedly plans to sell its assets in Indonesia, these will likely go to other Chinese companies. Tsingshan Holding Group did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Ahmad Redi, an expert in natural resources and mining law at the University of Tarumanagara, believes that China’s dominance is a double-edged sword: On one side, it gives a boost to Indonesia’s state income and local economic growth, but on the other, it could mean that Indonesia’s nickel becomes a pawn in China’s larger industrialization agenda. “[This means] that maximum economic and added value potentials can’t be achieved by Indonesia,” he told Rest of World.

Additionally, Chinese investors are not known for having the highest concerns for environmental impact, Redi said. “The environmental damage and social conflict will cause Indonesia to suffer long-term losses,” he said.

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