South Korea’s LX International Transitions From Coal, Acquires Indonesian Nickel Mine

LX International is set to acquire the AKP Mine, a nickel mine in Sulawesi, Indonesia, securing a 60% ownership stake and management control following a KRW 133 billion (US$99 million) investment.

As a result, the South Korean company’s strategic initiatives to transition from coal to critical minerals like nickel for the core of the resource business are anticipated to gain momentum.

LX International (led by CEO Yoon Chun-sung) announced that it had convened a board meeting and approved a proposal to take control of the Indonesian mine. 

The AKP nickel mine is located near the Morowali Industrial Park on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, the mining area spans 2,000 hectares. Among the 51.4 million tons of total resource reserves, the verified ore reserves amount to 36 million tons, which equates to the resources needed for over 7 million electric vehicles. 

In addition, the AKP mine boasts an exceptional location as an active mine, benefiting from the nearby nickel refining facilities, along with a well-established infrastructure for mining operations, including haul roads, storage areas, and a harbour.

LX International has set an ambitious target to more than double its annual production from 1.5 million tons in the previous year to 3.7 million tons by 2028. LX International holds the rights to acquire the entire production output under the offtake agreement.

An official from LX International said: “We have actively explored investment opportunities in over 200 nickel mines within Indonesia, and this nickel asset acquisition marks the beginning of our strategy to consistently secure additional assets under consideration, as we transition our primary focus in resource operations from coal to critical minerals like nickel, essential for secondary batteries.

“Due to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Indonesia’s role as a primary nickel supplier has been significantly bolstered, and leveraging over 40 years of experience in Indonesia and a proven track record in successfully developing and operating coal mines, we will remain entirely committed to strategically nurturing the minerals and materials business for secondary batteries.”