Thursday, 16 August, 2012 | 15:34 WIB
Ex-Army General Shines in the Coal Business
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Military veteran Luhut Binsar Panjaitan had a dream. At least three times a month, he would visit Kampung Jawa in the Kutai Kartanegara district of East Kalimantan, located about two hours drive from the provincial capital Samarinda, past the Dondang Bridge over Sangasanga River, where Adimitra Baratama Nusantara operates a coal concession.
Adimitra is a subsidiary of Toba Bara Sejahtera, a holding company founded by Luhut Panjaitan seven years ago and listed with the Indonesian stock exchange only last month. Operating on a 2,990-hectare coal concession with an estimated reserve of about 117 million metric tons, Adimitra is the backbone of Toba Bara in the coal business.
Nearly half of Toba Bara’s coal production comes from Adimira. “Total production from all our business units this year is expected to top 12.7 million metric tons,” Luhut said late in May.
On a visit to Kampung Jawa late in June, Tempo saw stockpiles of coal not far from Adimira’s operating office. Crushed coals are transported by conveyor to a jetty 5 kilometers away. “I’m lucky because our operations are located in a prime area,” said Luhut who was born 64 years ago.
The coals are further carried by barge from the jetty through a tributary of Mahakam River to Muara Jawa 5 kilometers away and to Muara Berau 120 kilometers away, to be loaded into ships bound for South Korea, India, China, Japan, and Taiwan. Coals produced have a calorific value of between 5.,200 and 5,800 kilo calorie per kilogram.
Luhut turned to coal to fire a 30-megawatt power plant he was building in 2008 in Palu, Central Sulawesi. Several mining sites in Kalimantan were considered, one of them being that where Adimira is now in operation.
Luhut still remembers the day when the price of coal then was so low, “I didn’t know then that it would now get so good a price,” he said. Adimira’s coal reserves were then were not large as they are now. Following intensive exploration, more reserves were discovered as coal prices skyrocketed in the world market topping US$ 94 per metric ton last year.
Adimitra began producing in 2008. Three years on production grew from 111,000 to 3, 7 million metric tons a year. A second subsidiary, Indomining, operating on a 683- hectare concession located adjacent to Adimira’s, produced 1.42 million metric tons of coal last year.
A third subsidiary, Trisenta Mineral Utama, began operating in October last year on a 3.414 hectare concession with an estimated reserve of 43 million metric tons of coal. Trisentia ,which produced only 40,00 metric tons of coal last, year, is expected to increase production up to 480,000 – 500,000 metric tons this year.
Last year Toba Bara posted Rp 1.04 trillion in net profits, up by 100 percent from 2011 as total production increased from 3.92 metric tons in 2010 to 5.24 metric tons in 2011.
Toba Sejahtera, the holding company which is engaged in the business of mining, power generation, and oil palm plantation, now controls a diluted 73.3 percent of Toba Bara, down from 82.42 percent before it became a publicly-listed company in July. As founder of Toba Sejahtera, Luhut controls 99.98 percent of the holding company. ****