Indonesian lawmakers hope to revise mining law by September – by Wilda Asmarini and Randy Fabi (Reuters U.S. – February 29, 2016)

JAKARTA, Feb 29 Indonesian lawmakers hope to revise the country’s resource rules by September in a move that could include easing of export curbs on minerals, such as nickel and copper, giving Freeport McMoRan Inc and other miners time and money to build smelters.

A parliamentary commission is discussing possible revisions to a 2014 law – which banned exports of nickel, bauxite and copper ores and set a three-year limit on concentrates sales to force firms to build smelters but instead ended up costing Indonesia billions of dollars in lost revenue.

“If they are not allowed to export, the economy could be destroyed,” Kurtubi, a member of the commission responsible for drafting the proposed revisions, told Reuters.

Mining accounted for almost 6 percent of Indonesia’s GDP before the ban, but has since slipped to about 4 percent.

Mining companies, mainly nickel producers, should be allowed to resume some ore and bauxite exports so they can earn revenue and complete their smelter projects, said Kurtubi and one other commission member.

At least 32 smelter projects have been delayed or cancelled, mostly nickel, government officials said, due to a prolonged slump in prices of the metal that are mired near their lowest since 2003. Only five nickel smelters, of a targeted 12, were completed last year.

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