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- President Joko Widodo inaugurated the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) nickel refining and processing plant (smelter) in Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi. The smelter plant will have a production capacity of up to 1.8 million tons per year.

"We are inaugurating a smelter that produces ferronickel with a production capacity of 1.8 million tons per year," said Jokowi during the inauguration of the PT GNI smelter factory, Konawe, Monday (27/12).

He said that the smelter plant would provide multiple-fold added value to nickel ore products. Nickel ore which is processed into ferronickel will increase the added value of the product up to 14 times. Meanwhile, nickel ore which is processed into stainless steel bullets will increase the added value up to 19 times.

"A value that is not small," said the former mayor of Solo.

The government estimates that stainless steel exports this year will reach US$ 20.8 billion. Meanwhile, exports of raw nickel only reached US$ 1-2 billion. For this reason, Jokowi has confirmed that he will stop the export of raw nickel. The government will also ban exports of raw bauxite from late next year.

On that occasion, he also asked the local government to create a conducive investment climate. This is done by providing a sense of security to entrepreneurs. He emphasized that the presence of the mineral and coal processing industry would provide taxes to bring in foreign exchange for the region.

Not only that, according to him, the processing industry also opens up job opportunities. Jokowi said the total workforce absorbed for the GNI smelter and the smelter in Morowali reached 27 thousand people.

 "This kind of recruitment is what we want so that all of our people want everyone to work," said Jokowi.

The establishment of a smelter factory can also create small and medium-sized business fields so as to encourage the regional economy. On that occasion, Jokowi was accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Minister of Investment/Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia, National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, Southeast Sulawesi Governor Ali Mazi, to Central Sulawesi Governor Rusdi Mastura.

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