Indonesia is famous for its abundant natural wealth. This tropical country also has deposits of “treasures”, or rare minerals. If Indonesia can process these minerals properly, this country will certainly become a super-rich country.
The treasures in Indonesia that are listed as the largest in the world are Tin, Nickel, Gold, and Bauxite and their derivatives such as Rare Earth Minerals (LTJ) or rare earth elements.
The five types of minerals are quite in demand by the world. So far, mineral resources such as tin, nickel, and bauxite are still the mainstay of the country’s foreign exchange because their export activities are quite high.
It is known that based on the 2020 Indonesian Tin Investment Opportunity Data, Indonesia’s tin reserves are the 2nd largest in the world, namely 17% of the world’s total tin reserves, after China, which controls 23% of the world’s tin reserves.
After Indonesia, there is Brazil which controls 15% of the world’s tin reserves, then Australia at 9%, and Bolivia at 8% of the world’s tin reserves.
The world’s total tin reserves at the beginning of 2020 were recorded at 4.74 million tons of tin, of which Indonesia recorded 800 thousand tons of metal.
Furthermore, Citing the Nickel Booklet released by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) 2020, based on USGS data in January 2020 and the 2019 Geological Agency, Indonesia is recorded to have nickel reserves of 72 million tons of nickel (including nickel limonite).
Indonesia’s nickel reserves reach 52 percent of the world’s total nickel reserves of 139,419,000 tons of nickel. Extraordinary!
Next up is bauxite. Based on data from the 2020 Bauxite Booklet of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, processing USGS data in January 2020, the number of Bauxite reserves in Indonesia reached 1.2 billion tons or 4% of the world’s bauxite ore reserves of 30.39 billion tons.
The owner of the world’s largest bauxite ore reserves, namely Guinea, reached 24%, then Australia controlled 20%, Vietnam at 12%, Brazil at 9%, and then in fifth place was Jamaica at 7%.
Based on data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia’s measured bauxite ore resources reach 1.7 billion tons and bauxite metal 640 million tons, while proven reserves for bauxite ore are 821 million tons and bauxite metal 299 million tons.
The next treasures: gold. World gold reserves in 2020 are estimated at 50,300 tonnes per Au. Of which 5% or as much as 2,600 tons per Au gold reserves in the world belong to Indonesia. Hence, Indonesia is recognized by the world as the fifth largest gold-producing country.
Citing the 2020 Gold Silver Mine Booklet released by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), there are seven largest gold-producing regions in Indonesia, including Papua, Nusa Tenggara, Java, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Maluku.
The total gold ore resources in Indonesia penetrated 14.9 billion tons. Metal resources are 0.01 million tons, ore reserves 3.56 billion, and metal reserves 0.005 million tons. In terms of gold ore reserves in Indonesia, the largest is in Papua, which controls 52%.
The last, and the most advanced treasures are rare earth. This mineral resource is considered the rarest and is currently being sought by the world.
The reason is, that this rare-earth treasure is very useful for modern technology. For example, it is used as raw material for electric vehicle batteries, cellular phones, electronic industrial computers to solar power plants (PLTS), and PLTB.
Indonesia does not yet have complete data regarding the total resources of these rare earth metals because there is still a lack of research related to LTJ in the country.
However, based on the book “Potential of Rare Earth Metals in Indonesia” by the Center for Mineral, Coal and Geothermal Resources, the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) in 2019, the rare earth metal resources that were successfully investigated in several areas were recorded at least reaching 72,579 tonnes, derived from placer deposits and lateritic deposits.
Several minerals containing LTJ, such as monazite, zircon, and xenotime, are secondary minerals from the main minerals such as tin, gold, bauxite, and nickel laterite.