Antam and Vale Indonesia — two of the biggest nickel producers in the country — have secured a recommendation letter to export their processed mineral products, almost two weeks after the government enforced a ban on ore shipments.
“Vale and Antam don’t have any problems. The others simply have not submitted their respective proposals to the government, which is why I am calling on other miners to do so,” said Susilo Siswoutomo, vice minister at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, on Friday.
Susilo said the government has given Antam approval to export around 17,000 metric tons of ferronickel annually, while Vale is allowed 75,000 tons of nickel matte per year. He did not say whether Antam will be allowed to export its nickel ore.
The vice minister also confirmed the government’s intention to set a “maximum production limit” for minerals to ensure that newly-built smelters in Indonesia can be fed with adequate resources.
This plan was previously revealed by R. Sukhyar, the director general of coal and mineral resources at the energy ministry, as reported by Jakarta Globe.
Ferronickel is a product that consists of roughly 20 percent nickel and 80 percent iron, which Antam sells in the form of shots and pellets. The product is used in the making of stainless steel products.
Vale’s nickel matte is a product with an average content of 78 percent nickel, 1 percent cobalt and 20 percent sulphur in addition to small amounts of other metals. The product is also used in objects that use stainless steel.
The government has set the purity level for ferronickel at 10 percent and nickel matte at 70 percent before they can be exported, which means that Antam’s ferronickel and Vale’s nickel matte meet the requirements.
In addition to ferronickel, Antam also produces nickel ore, which is then divided into aprolite nickel (containing 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent nickel), and limonite nickel ore (is a low grade nickel laterite ore that contains between 0.8 percent and 1.5 percent nickel, 25 percent and 35 percent iron and a trace of cobalt).
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