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Indonesia proposes nickel producer bloc at Canada G20 talks

Indonesia has proposed the establishment of a bloc of the world's top nickel producers similar to the oil cartel OPEC in talks with Canada, its investment minister said.

The Southeast Asian nation is the world's top nickel producer, while Canada is also a major producer of the mineral, according to United States Geological Survey data.

"Through such collaboration, we hope all nickel-producing countries will be able to profit through a fair added value creation," Bahlil Lahadalia said, according to a ministry statement.

The proposal was raised when Lahadalia met Canada's trade minister Mary Ng on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali.

He said an organisation similar to OPEC, a group of 13 oil-producing countries, could help organise and streamline policies on nickel, a key mineral used to make batteries -- including for electric vehicles, stainless steel and mobile phones.

Lahadalia previously floated the idea of such a grouping in an interview with the Financial Times in October, saying at the time that Indonesia was still formulating the group's structure.

Ng said in the statement that the two countries could explore the collaboration proposal, adding that Indonesia and Canada shared a similar vision for optimising their resources in a sustainable way.

Indonesia has banned exports of raw nickel ore since 2020 in a move to encourage investments in downstream industries in the country, which also sparked a trade dispute with the European Union.

The Indonesian government has touted plans to turn the country into an electric-vehicle hub. Nickel is used in lithium batteries that power petrol-free cars.

It has attracted investment from some foreign firms in nickel-battery processing plants, including China's Tsingshan Holding Group.

mrc/jfx/leg