An overview of Indonesia’s coal export ban and Asia’s energy crisis – by Sydney Allen (Global Voices – January 18, 2022)

Coal prices have shot up around the world this month after Indonesia — the fourth biggest coal producer in the world — temporarily banned coal exports from January 1 to January 31 after domestic stockpiles at the state-owned PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) power plants fell to critically low levels.

By December 31, the PLN had less than 1 percent of the coal it needed this month, according to officials from Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Without the ban, islands including Java and Bali may have faced widespread power loss and blackouts, according to Ridwan Jamaludin, the ministry’s director general for coal.

The announcement immediately caused a global spike in coal prices and left China, the world’s largest coal importer, in a temporary lurch.

Immediately following the ban, Indonesia’s domestic coal suppliers rushed to restock supplies. Mining companies and advocates have been pressuring the government to lift the ban, with the Indonesian Coal Mining Association (ICMA) saying in a statement the policy was “taken hastily without being discussed with business players.”

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