Opportunity and Challenge in Building Hydrometallurgical Plant

NBRI had attended the webinar which held by the Directorate General of Mineral and Coal. During the event, there was several speakers who comes from various background such as Special staff of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, head of geology, ESDM Director general of the metal industry, machinery, transportation equipment and electronics, Ministry of Industry, mind id, pt. Indonesia morowali industrial park, pt. Halmahera. All the audiences discussed with the speakers after the presentation session had done. 

On 13th October 2020, Director of PT Halmahera Persada Lygend, Tonny H. Gultom, had given remarks regarding how the plant he is leading faced the reality. The nickel mine and refinery plant is located in the Island of Obi in North Maluku, Indonesia. It is proven that the amount of Indonesia nickel reserves is up to 1.8 billion tons. Moreover, the needs of nickel for electrical vehicle battery is rising, so this plant is going to fulfill part of the world demand.

This plant uses High Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) for refining the nickel ore. The process could recover the valued mineral efficiently. However, the tailing or process waste is still a problem, said Gultom. There are options of solution to place the tailing, such as deep sea, backfilling former mining site, or dam. Each place has its own challenges. Geographically, Obi Island has high rain fall and high seismic activity, making backfilling or dam unsuitable place to put the tailing. It left deep sea as the only option, but now regulation is holding the decision due to the possibility of hazardous waste for the environment. So, agreement between the government and the company has to be established first in order to pursue the plant successful operation.  

Date : 14 October 2020
Written by : NBRI
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