PT Timah, a state-owned mining holding company has announced that it is currently conducting a study on the mining of rare earth metal monazite.
Nur Adi Kuncoro, Director of Operations and Production at PT Timah, mentioned that they have inventoried locations with the potential for monazite mining.
“The locations are in South Bangka and East Belitung, onshore,” said Adi on November 28, 2023.
Adi stated that PT Timah has already conducted calculations through their exploration team to estimate the potential yield when engaging in mining activities. He emphasized that monazite mining should be accompanied by tin mining.
“So, we are mining both tin and monazite because monazite is part of the residual results of tin processing,” he explained.
Adi mentioned that the development of monazite is one of the efforts to support downstream industries promoted by the government.
“Currently, the business development team is still studying to what extent we can enhance monazite into downstream products that are needed in the market,” he said.
Monazite is one of the sources of rare earth metals. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) revealed that rare earth metal materials have the potential to be developed as new and renewable energy (EBT).
These materials can be used for the production of solar cells or panels, rechargeable batteries, and fuel cells.
“Rare earth metals can also be processed into advanced materials before being used to make various devices that use or generate clean energy, such as electric vehicles, electric vehicle batteries, and wind turbines,” explained Jarot Raharjo, Researcher at the Center for Advanced Materials Research (PRMM) under BRIN.
Indonesia is estimated to have a potential of around 1.5 billion tons of monazite sand scattered in Bangka Belitung, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua.
Therefore, Jarot stated that BRIN is collaborating with various parties, especially from the industrial sector, to add value to rare earth metal materials.
One of the collaborations involves transforming monazite sand into rare earth metal hydroxides, rare earth metal oxides, and rare earth metals.