Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, recently revealed a groundbreaking development for Indonesia—the discovery of a significant lithium deposit, often referred to as a ‘rare treasure.’ This mineral holds tremendous value as a crucial raw material in the production of batteries for electric vehicles.
During a press conference discussing the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment’s Work Program for 2023 and its Achievements and Evaluations, Luhut shared the exciting news. While the exact details about the quantity and specific location of the lithium find were not disclosed, the minister emphasized the substantial nature of the discovery.
“I just received a report yesterday that a very large source of lithium has been found in Indonesia,” Luhut stated, underlining the potential impact of this find on Indonesia’s future energy landscape.
Indonesia, like many nations, recognizes the strategic importance of lithium in the electric vehicle industry. To propel the electric vehicle battery project forward, Indonesia is considering collaboration with Australia, a renowned supplier of lithium.
In his remarks, Luhut highlighted the evolving dynamics, noting the shift from initial concerns about sourcing lithium to now having a substantial domestic supply. He urged unity and cohesion in navigating the challenges and opportunities that this discovery brings.
“The next government will have a lot of homework. Initially, we were most afraid of lithium; we wanted to source it from Australia. Now we have lithium, and the source is very large. I want to convey, let’s maintain unity,” he emphasized.
This revelation aligns with prior indications from the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM). The agency had hinted at foreign interest in managing the lithium potential, describing it as a ‘super rare treasure.’
Moehammad Awaluddin, Coordinator of the Central Mineral Resources of Coal and Geothermal of the Geological Agency of the Ministry of ESDM, shed light on the intriguing details. The lithium-rich area is located in Bledug Kuwu, Grobogan, Central Java, exhibiting a mud eruption phenomenon reminiscent of the infamous Lapindo.
While Awaluddin refrained from disclosing specific company names, he emphasized the attractiveness of the lithium deposits in Bledug Kuwu compared to other locations.
“The Bledug Kuwu study has been ongoing since 2020, interrupted by Covid, and continued this year in 2023, yielding some encouraging results,” he shared, underscoring the significant potential awaiting exploration.
The importance of lithium in the context of the electric vehicle industry cannot be overstated. Awaluddin projected a staggering 42-fold increase in lithium demand, driven by the surging popularity of battery-based electric vehicles.
“Maybe in the past, the commodity was there, but today, we see the potential in Kalimantan, Bangka Belitung, Sumatra, including Bledug Kuwu. Maybe it wasn’t seen in the past, but today, everything uses electric batteries, all kinds of vehicles,” Awaluddin elaborated, emphasizing the transformative impact of lithium on diverse sectors.
This exciting development places Indonesia in a strategic position within the global supply chain. As the nation continues to navigate these new opportunities, collaboration, innovation, and sustainable practices will likely play pivotal roles in harnessing the full potential of this ‘rare treasure.’