Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang today, Thursday, December 7 2023, inaugurated the first titanium smelter in Indonesia which is located in Baturusa Village, Merawang District, Bangka Regency, Bangka Belitung Islands Province. The smelter belongs to PT Bersahaja Berkat Sahabat Jaya (SSBJ).
Agus explained that the smelter with an investment value of IDR 1.3 trillion is a tin mineral downstream company and is included in Domestic Investment (PMDN). “There are a lot of potential downstream derivatives of tin minerals that we can develop. One of them is the raw material for making titanium, which we are prioritizing,” he said on the sidelines of the smelter inauguration.
According to him, the development of downstream minerals from Rare Earth or Rare Earth Metals (LTJ) is currently very much needed by companies operating in the downstream industry. “The added value of downstream tin minerals is very large,” said Agus.
He said that for decades, Indonesia only exported raw materials to other countries and the added value was not enjoyed by Indonesia. “So from now on we have to change it so that we enjoy the added value.”
According to Agus, Indonesia can still survive amidst the slowing global economy and the obstacles it faces related to climate change and declining prices of leading export commodities. This is because Indonesia’s manufacturing and processing industry sectors are believed to continue to grow and become a mainstay.
“In the third quarter of this year, the manufacturing sector can grow and the growth will be greater at 5.02 percent year on year,” said Agus. “Manufacturing growth could be higher than national economic growth, which in the third quarter reached 4.94 percent. We are above national economic growth.”
Meanwhile, the Main Director of PT BBSJ, Arbi Leo, said that his party would also innovate to process the potential for downstream tin minerals that currently exist. This, he said, is in line with the government’s mandate which aims to downstream every mineral potential that exists in each region.
According to him, downstreaming does not only stop at titanium products. “There are still many products from associated minerals in Bangka Belitung that we can envision being downstream. In the future we will also try to create a zirconium smelter where we also still have associated mineral products, namely monazite,” he said.
PT BBSJ also plans to gradually downstream 17 elements found in rare earth metals, especially monazite. “The monazite mineral also contains thorium and uranium. So we hope that PT Bersahaja can continue to be supported so that it can help advance the region and the nation,” said Arbi.
Image source: REUTERS