Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Indonesia Mulls Banning Other Ore Exports after Nickel

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Laila Afifa

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  • A worker poses with a handful of nickel ore at the nickel mining factory of PT Vale Tbk, near Sorowako, Indonesia, January 8, 2014. REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad/File Photo

    A worker poses with a handful of nickel ore at the nickel mining factory of PT Vale Tbk, near Sorowako, Indonesia, January 8, 2014. REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad/File Photo

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian government is considering banning the export of other ores ahead of schedule to support downstream industries. Earlier, the government decided to start banning nickel ores in 2020, sooner than the initial plan of 2022.

    "If we already have investors coming in for downstreaming in tin, asphalt, alumina, bauxite and so on; why not," Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Luhut Pandjaitan, said in Jakarta, Thursday, September 12.

    According to Luhut, the decision to ban the export of other ores will be discussed carefully, based on how much the domestic capacity is. So far, Indonesia still relies on exports of raw minerals abroad, so the value is low.

    For example, to this date, almost 98 percent of raw nickel is exported to China when in fact Indonesia can process it domestically. "We can process it here at home, with cheaper electricity," Luhut said.

    With domestic processing, Luhut said, nickel could produce a value of US$34 billion by turning it into lithium batteries and recycled lithium.  

    Luhut said that sacrifices must be made to encourage the downstreaming. That way, in the next few years Indonesia will gain added value from home-made products, as well as create jobs.

    The minister said the government is seeking to cooperate with several countries to process bauxite and aluminum in Indonesia. For bauxite alone, he is aiming for investments of more than US$10 billion. 

    CAESAR AKBAR