Exploring Sumatra: A Look at PTBA’s First Coal Mine

The Air Laya mine, which is managed by PT Bukit Asam Tbk, has become the beginning of the history of the coal mining industry in South Sumatra. A coal mound stretches across the land area of ​​the Air Laya Mine, Tanjung Enim, Muara Enim Regency, South Sumatra Province. Dozens of truck vehicles go back and forth around the black gold temporary stockpile that has been dredged from the bowels of the earth.

The vehicle then goes to the conveyor which will deliver the coal to the train station ( TLS). From this open pit , the sentiment rock has become a commodity that has been powering energy since 102 years ago. The Sumatra Bisnis Indonesia Commodity Exploration Team had the opportunity to see the process of mobilizing coal from a height of 15 meters – 20 meters at the Air Laya Mining Platform provided by PTBA. PTBA’s Air Laya Development Manager, Eri Virnadi Saliman, said that the Air Laya mine was the first mine to be worked on by this state-owned company.

“This mine has existed since the days of Dutch colonialism, to be precise in 1919. As soon as their power ended, the State began to dominate it in the 80s,” he told the Exploration Team, Wednesday (17/3/2021). Eri explained that the production rate at the Air Laya Mine began to increase in 1989. The company supplies both the domestic and export market needs of the largest open pit mine in South Sumatra. PTBA supplies coal for the PLTU (steam power plant). He said PTBA is supplying all generators. One of them is from the Air Laya Mine. Based on company records, coal production from the Air Laya Mine reached 5.27 million tons in 2020.

This figure has decreased compared to the previous year which reached 7.77 million tons. According to Eri, the age of a mine really depends on the level of production. As an area that was exploited earlier, his party estimates that the operational life of the Air Laya Mine could be up to 5 years. It is known that PTBA has three locations in the Tanjung Enim mining unit (UPTE). Apart from the Air Laya Mine, coal production also comes from the Muara Tiga Besar Utara (MTB) Mine, as well as West Banko and Banko Tengah. The total UPTE production throughout 2020 reached 24.23 million tons. Currently, the highest production is in Banko Barat and Banko Tengah which reached 11.71 million tons. “We started to enter Banko and MTB almost simultaneously, around 1993. The direction of expansion in the upstream sector was to Banko because reserves reached 1 billion tons there,” he said.