* Indonesia wants to ensure enough coal to meet domestic
* Coal export tax still part of ongoing government talks
* Rules part of mining policy to encourage processing
By Yayat Supriatna and Michael Taylor
JAKARTA, April 20 Indonesia is still discussing
an export tax on thermal coal for this year, as it seeks to
boost revenues and investment in the country's mining industry,
a trade ministry official said on Friday.
An official with the ministry of energy and minerals for
world's top exporter of thermal coal had reportedly ruled out a
tax on coal earlier this week, but a trade ministry official
said it was an idea still on the table.
"We have not yet decided whether coal will be dropped or not
from the plan because we are still in discussions," said Deddy
Saleh, the director general of foreign trade at the trade
ministry, said on Friday.
"For sure, the government will impose an export tax on
minerals although we have not decided on the tariff," said
Saleh. "On coal we are still in discussions about whether we are
going to impose the tax or not."
GROWING DEMAND FOR COAL
Demand for Indonesia's coal comes mainly from China and
India, which are expected to lift coal imports significantly
over the next five years. Output will hit 390 million tonnes for
2012, industry groups say.
The world's top exporter of refined tin and home to the
second biggest copper mine, i s keen on developing its mining
industry, create jobs and turn into a producer of higher-value
finished goods from an exporter of raw materials.
Indonesia had failed previously to impose a coal export tax
to secure domestic coal supplies, with the plan dropped after
court action by industry.
"Although several years ago government dropped the coal
export tax because of a Supreme Court decision, the situation is
different now," Saleh added. "We are preparing arguments on coal
The export tax proposal, which could be 25 percent this year
and 50 percent in 2013, is part of a flurry of recent plans
supporting a 2009 mining law aimed at increasing state revenue
from a sector that contributes about 12 percent of GDP in
Southeast Asia's top economy.
But many of the plans announced have left investors
scratching their heads as different government departments offer
"It looks like there is about fifteen hundred people trying
to organise a party for six," said Lachlan Shaw, senior
commodity analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "It seems
that there is a different minister saying something different
The country is also due to ban exports of some unprocessed
metals from 2014 despite industry pleas to delay the plans
because of a lack of smelter and processing capacity.
The regulation is particularly vexing for miners holding
permits called IUPs, w hich may now need to detail how they will
process metals domestically, or be forced to stop all exports as
early as Ma y of this year.
There are currently more than 10,000 IUP holders, and most
are small-scale miners producing nickel and bauxite for buyers
in China and India.
This week, a government official suggested that small-scale
miners should team up with larger miners, many of whom already
have smelters, to help them with the 2014 domestic processing
In addition to the export tax policy, Saleh said the trade
ministry is also planning to issue a decree that will only allow
registered exporters of minerals and metals to export.
"All the mineral and coal exports will have to be verified
by appointed surveyors," he said, adding that only registered
exporters with detailed plans for downstream processing and
smelting would be awarded export permits by the government.
Many major miners in Indonesia have claimed that they won't
be impacted by changes to the country's mining laws, as they
hold different contracts that are decades-long and contain
clauses that are difficult to change.
(Reporting by Yayat Supriatna and Michael Taylor; Editing by Ed