JAKARTA (Reuters) – Large mining companies on Wednesday welcomed a recent decision by the Indonesian government to move forward a ban on exporting nickel ore, as the firms aim to increase smelting output.
Top nickel ore supplier Indonesia last month said the country will stop ore export from Jan. 1, 2020, pushing forward a ban by two years and raising concerns of supply shortage as well as causing financing issues for smaller players.
But major industry players gathering at the Asian Nickel conference on Wednesday said the ban would further support the development of the nickel processing industry in the country.
“For Vale, we see Indonesia as a great opportunity to expand our production,” Steven Brown, a general manager at PT Vale Indonesia, told the conference in Jakarta.
Indonesia said it expedited the ban to reserve ore for its fast-expanding smelting industries of nickel pig iron (NPI), stainless steel and electric vehicles (EV) battery nickel. The country first placed the nickel ore export ban in 2014, causing a price surge at the time, then relaxed it in 2017 under a quota system. Nickel prices have surged as much as 76% this year.