Sunday, December 2, 2018

Exploring Hidden Sulfur Processing Unit


Most of the tour operators only offer a package for hiking Kawah Ijen By Night to see the famous blue flame as that is the shortest way to explore Kawah Ijen. Kawah Ijen is not only blue fire and sunrise, but there is also something missing puzzle about how the sulfur which mined dangerously used for and how they will proceed.

The untold stories

In 2008, the sulfur company (PT. Candi Ngrimbi) take the sulfur processing unit right at Paltuding base. Just next to the parking area, so everyone can visit and see how sulfur from Kawah Ijen proceed.

Tons of filtering bags used for purifying sulfur 
In 2010, there was a big protest from the community that caused environmental issues. The toxic gas causes the animal around hard to breathe and most of the trees are dying. Then the company moved the unit close to its warehouse nearby Tamansari Village.

Another problem came up, as the company moved the unit in the high populated village. Local people did protest to the company as the toxic sulfur gas made people around got poisoned. Finally, it moved in the middle of a coffee plantation with no housing nearby.

How The Sulfur Proceed?

Overall, There are three steps to proceed with the sulfur. First, was the mining step where the workers collected and transported the sulfur manually from Kawah Ijen. These collected sulfur are mixed with dirt and stones that made them not ready to be sold. The collecting trucks transported all the sulfur to the processing unit to be ready for the second step, "Purifying Process".
Sulfur burning process traditionally burned by wood
Sulfur purifying can only possible to be done in a liquid phase so that they need to be burned to change it from solid into a liquid. Hot liquid sulfurs are put in the filtering bags in order to get 100% pure sulfur without any dirt contain. The pure and hot sulfur liquid then put on the ceramic floor, smashed them into smaller part then packed in the basket. Pure sulfur pieces are ready to be sold and distributed to a bigger factory.
Putting hot liquid sulfur on the floor to get smaller pieces


What Sulfur Used For?

There are many uses of sulfur, but most of them are used for sugar bleaching. Originally sugar color was brown, put sulfur and another additional chemical to make sugar white. In the automotive industries, sulfur and rubber latex could make tires for cars. Another positive used for sulfur is really good for skin care, for skin therapy, you can also go to Blawan Sulfur Hotspring.

How To Visit Sulfur Processing Unit?

It is not open for public visit, as the company does not allow a public visit to the factory. Ijen Miner Tour has access to visit the sulfur processing unit as our tour guide were Ex-sulfur miner who knew everybody in Kawah Ijen and Sulfur factory. We have a package which includes a visit to the sulfur warehouse and processing unit, Kawah Ijen Adventure Sulfur Factory Tour [3 Days / 2 Night].

Credit Given To:

- Hasim as a local tour guide and host
- John as a driver
- Special thank you for Aloysius Kwah for booking Kawah Ijen Adventure on February 2019

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