JAKARTA Dec 30 Indonesia's mining industry
plans to ask the nation's Supreme Court on Tuesday to settle
questions over the implementation of a mining law that threatens
to halt all unprocessed mineral exports starting next month.
From Jan. 12, mining companies must process their ore before
shipping it overseas, a measure initially passed in 2009 to
boost the value of exports from Indonesia, the world's top
exporter of nickel ore, thermal coal and refined tin.
Uncertainty over the requirements of the law has drawn
protests from small mining companies and international majors,
including U.S. giants Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and
Newmont Mining Corp, which refine only about a third of
their copper output domestically in Indonesia.
The Indonesian Mining Association will ask for the Supreme
Court's opinion on the mining law to "get clarity so that we
know and understand exactly the policy," said the group's
executive director, Syahrir Abubakar.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's administration is
working on a special regulation that will likely ease the export
restrictions on companies already processing ore domestically.
That regulation could raise objections from lawmakers who
earlier this month rejected the government's request to dilute
Freeport's Indonesian unit, which runs the world's
fifth-biggest copper mine in the world, has warned that the
planned export ban would cut the firm's revenues in the country
by 65 percent, costing Southeast Asia's biggest economy $1.6
billion in lost revenue next year.