Indonesia has incredibly great potential of nickel ore mining in Soroako, South Sulawesi and Pomala, South Sulawesi. The mining products are utilized to produce stainless, steel iron mixture (foundry), automotive frame manufacturing, rechargeable battery production and others.
Nickel has an essential role in steel production process since it has corrosive resistant characteristic. In pure condition, nickel is soft but if it is combined with iron, chrome, and other metal can create hard corrosive resistant steel. The combination of nickel, chrome and iron produces stainless steel which is mostly applied in the production of kitchen utensils, house and building ornaments, electronic and industrial components.
So far, nickel is marketed to local consuming industries and exported in the form of raw form (nickel ores). Indonesia is the second largest nickel exporters for steel iron industries in European Union. The export value of Indonesian nickel ores had increased significantly in the last several years. Reportedly, the export value of Indonesian nickel ores escalated significantly in 2019 if compared with those in 2017 and 2018.
Exporting nickel in raw form (nickel ores) is considered to bring disadvantages for Indonesia so the government in end 2019 banned the export of this mining material as of 1 January 2020. International reaction towards the export banning was from European Union which felt adverse and threatened, particularly in their steel iron industries. Therefore, European Union planned to claim Indonesia in World Trade Organization (WTO). The European Union considered that the policy was unfair and brought benefits only for local steel and smelter industries.