According to a recent report from Antara News, the provincial government of Bangka-Belitung Islands is planning to build a thorium-based power plant on Gelasa Island, Central Bangka District, to increase energy security and support the community’s development and economy.
“Currently, we are studying (the feasibility of the development of) a pilot project of a thorium power plant on Gelasa Island,” Acting Governor of Bangka-Belitung Islands Ridwan Djamaluddin announced on Monday.
He said that the project, which will involve extracting thorium from silica sand, could help Indonesia realize its energy transition and cut dependence on the use of fossil fuel energy.
“The focus of the energy transition programme is not only terminating (the operation of) the coal-fired power plants, but how much Indonesia is committed to contributing to supporting other industries (in utilizing new and renewable energy),” he added.
The acting governor said he hopes that if the province succeeds in developing thorium-powered electricity, it will become a new energy barn that would sell cheaper electricity compared to the power generated by coal-fired power plants, report Antara News.
“To expedite the construction of the thorium-based power plant, serious discussions and support from all parties and the community are required,” he added.
According to the official webpage of the provincial government, the soil in the region is rich in aluminum, tin, silica (quartz) sand, granite, kaolin, and clay.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, thorium can be mined from monazite that can be found in beach sands mixed with other minerals, such as silica, magnetite, ilmenite, zircon, and garnet, say Antara News.
Djamaluddin highlighted the low utilization of tin sand, which also contains a lot of other additional minerals. He said he hoped that the commodity would be utilized further in the future.
“When we want to build a more advanced industry, of course, there will be challenges, (for instance) the amount of natural resources is limited. However, we believe that we must advance and we should not remain underdeveloped,” he added.
Source: Antara News