Abundance Of Rare Earth Metals, Ministry Of Industry: Like Industrial Vitamins, Can Attract Investment Into Indonesia
Illustration. (Photo: Doc. Antara)

JAKARTA - The Ministry of Industry's Director General of Metal, Machinery, Transportation and Electronic (ILMATE) Industries, Taufiek Bawazier, revealed that rare earth elements (RRE) are a type of metal that is very crucial for the industry because it has many benefits.

"From the point of view of the LTJ industry, it is the vitamin industry. It is said to be rare but materially it is abundant everywhere," he said in a Hearing Meeting with Commission VII, Monday, April 11.

According to him, metal processing also requires high knowledge and technological ability because the elements are not directly in one material but are separated in small parts.

He added, if Indonesia has a strong mapping, it will be able to attract investment to enter Indonesia.

Taufiek detailed several countries that have mapped the potential of LTJ, such as China which has 44 million tons, Vietnam 22 million tons, Brazil 21 million tons, India 6 million tons and America 1.6 million tons.

"This means that they know how much estimation must be included in the extraction process of this rare earth metal and this is important for Indonesia so that we know where the points are," he said.

He also revealed that currently the Ministry of Industry has also prepared a roadmap for the use of LTJ in industry and has prepared its regulations through presidential instructions (inpres).

“One of the rare earth metals that is found in the by-products of tin is monazite. Monasite has many uses for the defense, medical, renewable energy, and catalyst industries. Monasite in green energy is widely used to make magnets in wind turbines," he explained.

Based on data from the Center for Coal and Geothermal Mineral Resources (PSDMBP) of the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, 28 locations have been identified that have the potential for rare earth metals. The potential is spread across 16 locations in Sumatra, seven locations in Kalimantan, three locations in Sulawesi and two locations in Java.

Meanwhile, there are nine survey sites and investigations conducted by the Geological Agency to reveal mineral potential, which are spread in Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra for gold metal and associated minerals. Next, West Sumbawa, NTB for precious metal minerals and base metals.

To note, this metal also has a large enough magnetic strength so that it is used for the manufacture of neomagnets. This metal is also the raw material for supporting electric cars, ranging from car propulsion to metal coatings for electric vehicles. This mineral also supports the production of defense equipment such as satellites, missiles, lasers and others.

Other benefits include being the raw material for making power plants, storing electricity, supporting mining, and supporting technological products to detect cancer and other types of diseases.

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