National Technology Innovation Expected to Play an Important Role in Increasing the Added Value of Low-grade Nickel in the Future

Jakarta – Director General of ILMATE (Metal, Machinery, Transportation and Electronics Industries) of the Ministry of Industry, Taufiek Bawazier, in a Hearing Meeting (RDP) with Commission VII of the DPR RI, Wednesday (10/11), said that technology plays an important role in (processing) minerals side. Furthermore, Taufik explained two approaches of nickel processing technology, which is the pyrometallurgical approach that is widely used today, such as Nickel Pig Iron (NPI), Ferronickel, and Nickel Matte, as well as the hydrometallurgical approach, which he mentioned, will have an important role in the future to increase the added value of a low-grade nickel. "From the hydrometallurgical point of view, it is also very important, so that later low-grade nickel can be processed, so the chemical approach, which may have been conveyed earlier, HPAL, High Pressure Acid Leaching, and also perhaps what is now being developed by our fellow Indonesian as well, Step Temperature Acid Leaching, it will also have an important role in the future to increase added value for low-grades (nickel) because all minerals have varied nickel content," Taufik said. Separately, PT Hydrotech Metal Indonesia as the owner of Step Temperature Acid Leaching (STAL) Technology, responded positively to the views of the Director General of ILMATE who took into account the important role of STAL Technology in the future. "We appreciate this point of view. This is very positive, and we hope that STAL Technology in the future can be useful for many parties with the spirit of advancing the nation," President Director of PT Hydrotech Metal Indonesia, Widodo Sucipto said.  Furthermore, Widodo also revealed one of the advantages of STAL Technology, which is the modular system that they used, with a minimum output of around 1,800 tpa (tons per annual) and lower capital expenditure (Capex). “This modular system is a solution to funding problem in smelter construction. Through the presence of STAL Technology, fellow IUP (Mining Business License) owners do not have to bother looking for funds up to billions of US Dollars just to build a smelter,” Widodo said. According to Widodo, STAL Technology produces competitive carbon emissions compared to existing hydrometallurgical-based nickel extraction technologies. And with a modular scale, Widodo said, STAL has the potential to reduce fossil fuel consumption through the use of renewable energy sources, such as hydropower and solar power, so that carbon emissions can be significantly reduced. In a technology audit conducted by the Materials Technology Center of the National Research and Innovation Agency (PTM BRIN, previously Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology [BPPT]) recently, STAL Technology was proven to be able to produce nickel recovery from 89 to 91%, and cobalt by 90 to 94%. Meanwhile, the STAL Pilot Plant has also been proven to be able to produce MHP (Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate) with a Ni (Nickel) content of more than 35%. (*)