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PTBA Expanding Into Renewable Energy

“We have diversified our business by expanding into renewable energy" ~Arsal Ismail, President Director, BUKIT ASAM 

State-owned Bukit Asam (PTBA) is one of Indonesia’s largest coal mining companies, producing more than 30m tons in 2021 as world demand spiked in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Currently engaged in business transformation in pursuit of its vision that pairs becoming a world-class energy company with care for the environment, PTBA has diversified its operations to include renewable energy and gasification initiatives, as well as taking significant steps to decarbonize its existing processes.

How is PTBA supporting the Indonesian government in its drive towards sustainability?

PTBA has committed to transforming its business to adopt sustainable practices. As one of the state-owned enterprises, Indonesia’s G20 Presidency, which puts energy transition and sustainability issues in the spotlight, has been a key moment for us to realign our vision of business transformation. As much as we believe that coal will still play a pivotal role in the country’s energy mix, we are aware of the need to accelerate our sustainability transformation.

We have been playing a pivotal role in helping the country to secure its energy needs. We have a large domestic market to serve. As the nation’s electricity demand is projected to increase, we believe this is a huge asset for us. We have also expanded our business into renewable energy and gasification. We also encourage innovation to create carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) at an affordable cost. With technological innovation, emissions from coal can be reduced so that the 2060 net-zero emission target can still be met. We believe the steps we are taking will help us to achieve our vision of becoming a world-class energy company.

What changes have the company enacted to reduce its carbon footprint?

We have diversified our business by expanding into renewable energy and other downstreaming projects to ensure that we are not excessively reliant on coal. In addition, we have been using electric vehicles for the past few years, which has reduced fuel usage and carbon emissions in our operations. Switching to electric shovels and haul dump hybrids for mining operations has reduced emissions by an average of 17,000 tons of CO2 per year. 

We will further explore not only electrification of our mining vehicles but also integrating other initiatives to help decarbonize our operations.

What is your current approach to Envi ronmental, Social & Governance (ESG) initiatives?

ESG is incredibly important. We believe that it can add value to the company. One innovative project we have undertaken is the development of solar irrigation pumps in rural villages in several provinces across Sumatra, as part of our community development program.  This has proven to help farmers in these rural villages increase productivity, particularly in the dry season. Since 2014, PTBA has also run the Bamboo for Life Program in the Tarahan Port area; bamboo planting is carried out to restore arid land, and the program also benefits the community. In addition to skewers, bamboo is processed into bamboo vinegar and various derivative products. The Bamboo for Life program has seen PTBA receive the Gold PROPER Award in both 2020 and 2021, reflecting our company’s commitment to the environment. 

What is your message to international investors considering investing in Indonesia?

Indonesia is growing fast and our market is huge – we believe this is the kind of opportunity no investor can easily let go. This is truly a golden moment for any investor wishing to invest – Indonesia is the right place. While PTBA is one of the largest coal producers in Indonesia, we are currently transforming to become a more sustainable company in the future. That means there is still space to grow. We believe this also makes for an appealing opportunity for investors, and we welcome any potential future cooperation.   

As published in Gulf News, Global FDI Reports, November 2022

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