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‘Coal-by-wire’ from Sumatra to Java

Coal from the island of Sumatra accounts for most of Indonesia’s low-grade lignite, a low-quality coal that receives a poor price in international markets.

Given this low pricing combined with high transportation costs and the fact that most reserves are located in landlocked areas, it is not feasible to export Sumatra’s coal out of the island.

It is more efficient to use Sumatra’s coal for a mine-mouth power plant, an approach in which we develop a power plant very close to where mines are located, use the low-calorie coal from the mines to feed the plant, and transmit the electricity, rather than transporting a low-value commodity, out of the mines.

With mine-mouth, we no longer require either barges or expensive railway-heavy infrastructure to transport coal; rather we need to have long-distance high-voltage transmission lines to bring “coal-by-wire” from mines to consumer centers, either regions in Sumatra and/or Java-Bali.