April 29, 2020 / 8:53 AM / a month ago

Indonesia rejects miners' proposal to end nickel ore export ban

JAKARTA, April 29 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment has rejected a proposal by nickel miners to allow the export of nickel ore again, the ministry’s spokesman, Jodi Mahardi, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Indonesian nickel miners’ association (APNI) proposed this month that the country allow exports of nickel ore to cushion the impact on processed nickel exports by global measures to control the coronavirus outbreak.

“We reject the relaxation of the ban on nickel ore exports,” Mahardi said.

“The contributions of processed nickel exports to total exports has increased significantly in the first quarter,” he said, adding that relaxation of the ban would cause world nickel prices to fall amid falling iron and steel demand.

Indonesia, once the world’s biggest nickel ore exporter, started banning exports of the ore in January to boost expansion of its domestic smelting industry.

An APNI spokeswoman could not immediately comment on the rejection.

Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry last week revised regulations on the pricing of minerals, including establishing a monthly floor price on nickel ore starting from May 14.

Under the new rules, a monthly mineral benchmark price set by the energy and mineral resources ministry will be used as floor price for nickel ore transactions, allowing a price at maximum 3% below the floor price. (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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