By Yayat Supriatna
JAKARTA Feb 20 Vale Indonesia and PT
Aneka Tambang (Antam) were among the first group of
companies to receive government approval to export processed
mineral ore and refined metal under a new mining law, a senior
government official said.
Bachrul Chairi, director general of foreign trade, said a
total of nine companies were given export permits as of
Thursday, allowing one of the world's largest mining industries
to resume shipping some minerals and metals.
Around $500 million worth of monthly metal ore and
concentrate exports have ground to a halt in Indonesia due to
confusion surrounding the implementation of the Jan. 12 mining
law, which includes a mineral ore export ban and a progressive
tax on concentrate shipments.
Before the ban, Indonesia was the world's top exporter of
nickel ore. It is also a major producer of refined tin, thermal
coal, iron ore and bauxite.
The government granted the export permit to Vale Indonesia
because the company processes all of its nickel ore at its four
smelters in South Sulawesi, which have a capacity of more than
Indonesia's second biggest nickel producer, Antam, was also
given approval to export from its three ferronickel smelters.
But the company's smelting capacity only covers a small fraction
of Antam's overall nickel ore production, which had been
exported before last month's ban.
Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's Rating
Services said last month they were reviewing Antam for a
possible credit-rating downgrade because of the ban's impact on
the company's export business.
PT Smelting, Indonesia's only copper smelter, and PT
Indoferro, the country's first nickel pig iron smelter, were
also granted export permits, Chairi said.
The other mining companies were PT Anugerah Nusantara
Sejahtera, PT Global Multi Tambang, PT J. Resources Bolaang
Mongondow, PT Long Xin Group Resources and PT Nusa Halmahera
U.S. mining giants Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc
and Newmont Mining Corp were not on the list.
Freeport and Newmont have both been in high-level talks with
the government regarding the new export rules, which include a
punitive escalating export tax.