JAKARTA, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Indonesia will keep its export ban on nickel ore, contrary to recent media reports suggesting the country may relax curbs to prop up its slowing economy, senior government officials said.
Indonesia banned exports of unprocessed metal ores in early 2014 to force firms to develop smelters that would add value to the country’s resources and create jobs. But the curbs cost the country billions of dollars in lost revenue last year.
While there are signs the government is trying to bring more money back into resources, the Chief Economics Minister Darmin Nasution warned against speculation that the country would relax its nickel ore export ban.
Indonesia will seek consistency in its mining policies, he said on Tuesday, a view echoed by Mining Minister Sudirman Said.
“What we’re doing is looking for incentive to boost economic activities in nickel and bauxite business. How to help smelter projects run smoothly and finish, as per our target,” Said said, adding there was no easing of the nickel ore export ban.
On Monday, Bisnis Indonesia newspaper reported that the country may relax export rules for both bauxite and nickel, quoting Director of Coal at the Energy Ministry, Adhi Wibowo.
Wibowo could not be reached for a comment on Tuesday.
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