Indonesia eyes global playing field with state mining conglomerate – by Wataru Suzuki (Nikkei Asian Review – November 30, 2017)

JAKARTA — The day began with dozens of Indonesian government officials and state mining executives shuffling in and out of marathon meetings at one of Jakarta’s oldest hotels. By late afternoon Wednesday, they had opened a new chapter in the country’s efforts to revitalize the mining sector.

Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, a state-owned aluminum refiner known as Inalum, was transformed into a holding company that controls nonferrous metal producer Aneka Tambang, coal company Bukit Asam and tin miner Timah. The government’s 65% stake in each of the three listed companies has been transferred to Inalum. The remaining shares will remain publicly traded.

The shift is designed to create a national mining champion that can compete with global giants like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. The news conference that followed the deal offered an early glimpse of how the strategy will play out.

Budi Gunadi Sadikin, a former banking executive who was appointed as Inalum president in September, wore a bright pink and violet traditional batik shirt and handled the questions cheerfully while his three new deputies wrapped in black suits waited for his orders.

“We, the four musketeers,” Sadikin joked, “can hopefully carry the duty of bringing Indonesia’s mining industry on par with the big companies in the world.” In reality, Inalum remains far behind its global peers even after consolidating the three miners.

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