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Thomas Lembong Says Nickel Downstream Policy Mostly Benefits China

8 December 2023 09:27 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaCo-captain of the Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar (Amin) campaign team, Thomas Lembong assessed that the nickel downstream policy introduced by President Joko Widodo or Jokowi mostly benefits Chinese companies, which dominate smelter ownership in Indonesia.

He said the policy has resulted in a shift in miners' income to a cartel consisting of only a handful of large companies.

“Large companies make profits from the export ban. Because small miners are forced to sell raw materials (nickel ore) to companies owning export permits, smelter owners,” Tom said at the CSIS Building in Jakarta on Wednesday, December 6.

However, Tom said that presidential candidate Anies Baswedan and running mate Muhaimin Iskandar would not instantly stop the downstream policy if they win the upcoming 2024 election in February. Amin would later see the nickel industry develop according to trends. “Let the market evaluate and decide,” he added.

Previously, a senior economist Faisal Basri slammed the government over the nickel downstream policy, claiming that China was reaping huge profits from there, even up to 90 percent. This is because China owns a nickel smelting factory in Indonesia. Moreover, almost all of the nickel smelter's processing products are exported to China.

“Indonesia’s downstream program actually supports China’s industrialization. From downstream, we only get 10 percent, while 90 percent of it goes to China,” Faisal added.

Meanwhile, Hasyim Daeng, Director of Mineral and Coal Downstreaming at the Ministry of Investment, said China's dominance in Indonesia's nickel smelter industry is reasonable as it is the global player in the sector due to its advanced technology.

RIRI RAHAYU

Editor's Choice: Indonesian Nickel Smelters Owned by Foreign Entities, Investment Minister Says

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