UPDATE 1- Indonesia may ease bauxite export ban to help fund refineries – by Wilda Asmarini (Reuters Africa – March 23, 2015)

http://af.reuters.com/

JAKARTA, March 23 (Reuters) – Indonesia is looking at easing its mineral export ban for bauxite producers to help promote the building of domestic processing capacity, a mines ministry official said on Monday.

Early last year Indonesia put in place export restrictions aimed at forcing miners to develop smelting and processing facilities so that it can increase the value of the minerals it produces and create jobs.

“We need a breakthrough in the law to accelerate bauxite smelter development,” Said Didu, head of the national smelter development team at the energy and mineral resources ministry, told reporters. “To accelerate bauxite smelter development, they should pay a guarantee bond to develop smelters to the government.”

The government has already offered a similar deal to copper miners, allowing them to export concentrates again after paying an export tax and a bond as a sign of good faith that they intend to build smelting capacity.

If bauxite miners have at least 30 percent of their smelter or refinery construction completed, they can apply for a government licence to resume some exports in order to get funding for the rest of their facility, Didu said.

“There are some bauxite smelter developments that have run out of money,” he added. “We don’t want this development to stop.”

The government is looking at ways to improve the current account deficit and help the rupiah, which hit its lowest level since August 1998 last week.

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