Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is planning to build an environment-friendly thermal power plant running on sludge fine coal wastes in East Kalimantan as recommended by a study conducted as part of a "Care For Mahakam" program, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said.
"The Care For Mahakam program aims to reduce pollution in the Mahakam river in East Kalimantan," Purnomo told a workshop on the program here Thursday.
The Care For Mahakam program was being conducted jointly by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry`s Research and Development Board and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The two agencies have been conducting the program for the past one year and concluded that sludge fine coal wastes can be used to fire a power plant.
Meanwhile, Research and Development Board head Nenny Sri Utami said the program was initiated after it was observed that many coal mining companies dumped their sludge fine coal wastes into the Mahakam river.
"The dumping of coal wastes into the river has been going on for years and had a bad impact not only on people but also on the river itself," she said.
Care For Mahakam`s field study coordinator Adhi Wibowo said a number of coal mining firms near the Mahakam River area were producing over 25 million tons of coal and 1.25 million tons of coal wastes per year.
A power plant usually needs about 450,000 tons of coal wastes with a composition of 30 to 50 percent coal wastes and the rest in low-calorie coal which can be used as fuel, he said.
The proposed power plant which will have a capacity of 2 X 50 MW will be set up in the Tenggarong region in Kutai Kertanegara district with an investment of US$1.5 million per 1 MW.
Total investment to make the power plant along with its transmission and distribution network would be Rp170 trillion or around $17 billion, he said.(*)