Tin is defying the downdraft sweeping commodity markets, with prices for the metal used to solder electronics surging this year thanks to reduced production in major exporter Indonesia. (ID Photo/Tino Oktaviano)

Timah Sets Aside $87m Capex, Embarks on Radioactive Mineral Business


OCTOBER 22, 2015

Jakarta. State-controlled miner Timah, the world largest tin producer, will set aside Rp 1.2 trillion ($87 million) in capital expenditure next year, some of which is reserved for developing a tin smelter in the Tanjung Ular Industrial Area in Bangka Belitung.

The company, which controls around 10 percent of the world's tin market, plans to establish a thorium smelter, making use of its rare earth deposits in the region, Timah corporate secretary Agung Nugroho said on Wednesday.

"Timah is always expanding to increase its reserves and production capacity. One of our efforts was to build a plant for processing rare earth," Agung said.

Thorium is a radioactive mineral that can be used to fuel nuclear reactors Timah estimated that a thorium plant would cost the company Rp 400 billion to make.

Timah has succeeded in establishing a pilot plant, which will be capable of producing 50 kilograms of thorium a day. The larger facilities are expected to be operational in 2017, Agung said.

The National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) has been in talks with Timah to make use of the company's thorium produce, Agung said, adding that Japanese companies have also shown interest in buying the mineral.