UPDATE 1-Indonesia may loosen export ban on metal ores – by Rieka Rahadiana and Fergus Jensen (Reuters India – August 28, 2013)


Aug 28 (Reuters) – Indonesia will push for a relaxation of its controversial 2014 ban on metal ore exports amid a scramble to support the rupiah and restore confidence in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of nickel ore, coal and refined tin and its mining industry contributes around 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

However, the ban on unprocessed mineral exports from January 2014 has hit the industry and uncertainties over the country’s mining rules have dented its credibility with foreign investors.

If approved, the reversal of mining policy will upset metal industries banking on a tightening of ore shipments that have increased significantly in the lead up to the ban. However, some in parliament doubted the government would manage to overturn the rule.

Under the proposed revision, mining companies with smelters under construction would be allowed to continue to export unprocessed minerals, but would be charged a progressive duty on the shipments depending on how close to completion their projects are, Industry Minister Muhammad Sulaeman Hidayat told reporters.

“Miners that have not (started) building smelters yet will not be allowed to export minerals,” Hidayat said.

The proposed changes were confirmed by energy and mineral resources minister Jero Wacik.

“This is an emergency measure, with global conditions like this we have to increase our exports,” Wacik said, referring to the government moves to increase mineral exports to maintain the country’s trade balance and rupiah stability.

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