BHP Billiton weighs getting out of Indonesian coal

MELBOURNE, April 20 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton is considering giving up its coal stakes in Indonesia, where it recently started producing coal, amid uncertainty over Indonesian regulations and a weak outlook for coal.

“BHP Billiton is conducting a strategic review of the long-term future options for its Indonesian coal interests, IndoMet Coal, which comprises seven coal contracts of work within the provinces of Central and East Kalimantan,” the global miner said in its quarterly review on Tuesday.

The company is considering a range of options for IndoMet, a BHP spokeswoman said. She declined to comment on whether the company has entered into talks with any potential buyers of its 75 percent stake in the business.

BHP last year started producing at the Haju coal mine, where it has come under fire from environmental groups, but has held off approving larger developments on its Indonesian holdings as it awaits more certainty on government regulations.

Indonesia’s Adaro Energy holds the remaining 25 percent stake in IndoMet, which is estimated to hold at least 1.27 billion tonnes of resources.

Reporting by Sonali Paul