Tsingshan is the world’s largest stainless steel producer and a leading producer of both class 1 and class 2 nickel.

Tsingshan, who pioneered the Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace (RKEF) process to produce low-cost nickel pig iron (NPI), is now the dominant player in the Indonesian NPI industry and a global leader in NPI processing technology, including having implemented the Argon Oxygen Decarburisation process which incorporates the direct hot charging of NPI into the stainless steel production process for a low cost stainless steel cost position.

Integral to Tsingshan’s stainless steel operations is NPI production which accounts for ~65% of the input to stainless steel.

Tsingshan’s stainless steel growth ambitions and commitment to China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy is being managed through a Tsingshan group company, Shanghai Decent Investment (Group) Co. Ltd. (Shanghai Decent). Shanghai Decent has responsibility for promoting and developing Tsingshan’s international operations and has been the key architect in establishing Tsingshan’s integrated stainless steel industry supply chain incorporating mining and nickel pig iron smelting right through to stainless steel smelting, stainless steel slab production and stainless steel sheet, bar and wire processing. In addition, Shanghai Decent is responsible for Tsingshan’s international project management, including project construction, equipment design and procurement, logistics and raw material importation/supply.

Nickel Industries / Tsingshan Collaboration

Tsingshan collaboration – partnership built of mutual benefit and respect

Over the last decade Nickel Industries has established a strong and trusted relationship with Tsinghsan Group, the world’s largest nickel and stainless steel producer.

Nickel Industries relationship with Tsingshan commenced when it’s Hengjaya Mine began supplying nickel ore to the newly established Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP) in 2015. Rapidly building a reputation as a reliable ore supplier, Nickel Industries and Shanghai Decent (a Tsingshan company responsible promoting and developing the group’s international operations) commenced discussions about partnering on downstream processing opportunities which culminated in the signing of a landmark Collaboration and Subscription Agreement in September 2017 to build a 2-line RKEF plant to be called the Hengjaya Nickel Project. This agreement paved the way for Shanghai Decent to become Nickel Industries largest shareholder with their investment enabling Nickel Industries to fund its initial 25% investment into Hengjaya Nickel.

Nickel Industries and Shanghai Decent have now collaborated on 4 RKEF projects (Hengjaya Nickel, Ranger Nickel, Angel Nickel and Oracle Nickel) comprising 12 RKEF lines, with Nickel Industries owning 80% interests in each of these projects, making it one of the largest NPI producers globally and one of Tsingshan’s most important collaboration partners.  Having successfully developed and co-invested across 4 RKEF projects, the companies are now working together to transition Nickel Industries into a fully diversified nickel producer, producing not only NPI, but the full suite of class -1 nickel products suitable for use in the EV supply chain.

This diversification strategy commenced in the December quarter of 2022 with the decision to convert Hengjaya Nickel’s production from NPI to nickel matte, a product that can be refined into nickel sulphate.  In August 2023 the Company took another step into the class 1 nickel market by purchasing Shanghai Decent’s 10% interest in the Huayou Nickel Cobalt Project (HNC), now considered one of the world’s leading HPAL operations producing Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP).

In October 2023 the Company took a positive final investment decision (FID) to participate alongside Shanghai Decent in the Excelsior Nickel Cobalt Project (ENC), a next-generation HPAL project capable of making MHP, nickel sulphate and nickel cathode.  The Company presently owns a 27.5% interest in ENC with this interest set to increase to 55% by October 2025 in accordance with a series of agreed acquisition payments.

In addition to owning 20% minority interest in the four RKEF projects, Shanghai Decent is the Company’s single largest shareholder  in addition to holding 2 Board seats.

The collaboration arrangements  continue to ensure that both parties interests are aligned operationally, financially and strategically.

Project Execution

A unique feature of Nickel Industries collaborations with Shanghai Decent is that all projects come with a series of “construction guarantees” whereby Shanghai Decent has provided Nickel Industries with guarantees on:

  • maximum capex (where any cost overruns are borne solely by Shanghai Decent)
  • delivery timeframe guarantees
  • commissioning guarantees (that go beyond practical completion and ensure the project is successfully ramped up to at least nameplate capacity)

These guarantees have been invaluable to Nickel Industries in securing equity and debt financing to fund its acquisition payments for each of its projects.

Market Intelligence

As a global leader in nickel and stainless steel production, Tsingshan has unrivalled market intelligence and foresight with regards to prevailing  and future trends across the global nickel and steel markets.  Nickel Industries relationship with Tsingshan ensures it benefits from these insights and is at the cutting edge of market developments.

Process Innovation

Tsingshan have a proven track record and reputation as innovators in the global nickel market. They were responsible for pioneering the establishment of the NPI industry around 2007 using the RKEF’s to process nickel laterites to produce Ni and Iron rich ferronickel, eliminating stainless steel mills requirements for iron ore. Tsingshan were also a leading proponent in the processing revolution that enabled nickel laterite ores to be refined in class 1 battery grade nickel, a development that has led to the significant structural shift in supply-demand fundamentals across the nickel industry over the last 5 years.

More Information

The link below provides an introduction to Tsingshan group and its operations across the IMIP and IWIP where Nickel Industries has established itself as a key collaboration partner.


Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP)

The Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP), situated in the Morowali province of Central Sulawesi, was established in response to the Indonesian Government’s decision to ban the exportation of unprocessed minerals (DSO ban) from January 2014.

In response to flagged legislative changes announced by the Indonesian Government in 2009, and well ahead of the DSO ban’s formal introduction in 2014, in mid-2013 Tsingshan group, the world’s largest stainless steel producer, committed to building a nickel processing facility in Indonesia to satisfy the indicated new framework for the treatment of Indonesia’s natural resources.  The 2009 Law on Mineral and Coal Mining (Law no.4, 2009) described certain minerals as national non-renewable resources, specifying that mining should be managed to encourage sustainable regional development, be for the benefit of national interests and pursuant to the welfare and prosperity of the Indonesian people with the Government actively encouraging and promoting the investment into and construction of smelting facilities to establish an in-country down-stream nickel processing industry.

The IMIP has fulfilled this vision and is now recognised as the world’s largest vertically integrated stainless steel production centre and the epicentre of global nickel production.  In recent years the park has expanded in size and now spans 5,500 hectares, is host to more than 50 partner companies and 90,000 employees with production capabilities in stainless steel, carbon steel, NPI, nickel matte, MHP and a range of other lithium and manganese products suitable for use in the electric vehicle battery supply chain.

Guest quarters & 4-Star Hotel

Indonesia Weda Bay Industrial Park (IWIP)

The Indonesia Weda Bay Industrial Park (IWIP) is located in the North Maluku Province on the island of Halmahera and is a smaller scale version of the IMIP.  The park does not have stainless steel processing capacity so most of the NPI produced within the park is shipped to China for use in Tsingshan’s stainless steel facilities in Zhejianfg and Fujian provinces.

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