JAKARTA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) expects to export up to 50 percent more nickel ore this year at 10 million-12 million tonnes, a director at the state-controlled miner said.
Indonesia is the world's top exporter of nickel ore, a key component of stainless steel, and exports have increased this year ahead of a planned 2014 ore export ban.
"We exported 6 million tonnes of nickel ore in the first half of this year, up 41 percent compared to the same period last year," Hendra Santika told reporters. "Hopefully it will become 10-12 million tonnes in the whole year."
Santika said Antam's 2012 nickel ore exports were 8 million tonnes, or about 17 percent of the country's total nickel ore exports of 46.7 million tonnes for the year.
The latest Bank Indonesia mining export data showed that nickel ore shipments were 31.5 million tonnes over January to July, up about a third from the same period in 2012.
Japan is Antam's top nickel ore buyer, Santika added, with China and Europe also key customers.
Antam is building two ferronickel smelters to be completed in 2014 and a bauxite smelter by next year, to add to its existing three ferronickel smelters and a gold refinery.
Ferronickel output is seen at 18,000 tonnes this year, Santika said. (Reporting by Yayat Supriatna; Writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Tom Hogue)