Ore miners in Indonesia will need to optimize land use: ministry

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Ore mining companies operating in Indonesia will need to optimize their use of land given to them under planned new rules, a ministry official told Reuters.

“Exploration is needed to increase ore resources and reserves, which could lengthen the mine’s lifespan,” Yunus Saefulhak, director of minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, told Reuters in an interview.

Miners of Indonesia’s resources such as nickel, copper and bauxite often utilize only a small portion of their concession and sit on massive unexplored area, he said.

The government plans to create parameters to measure exploration activities.

These could include comparing the size of a concession with the area explored, he said.

The ministry might also compare how much mining companies spend on exploration and their revenue.

Saefulhak said international miners usually spend 1.6% of their revenue on exploration. He said the government has not decided how much miners operating in Indonesia should spend.

Asked about the environmental impact of pushing for more mining exploration, he said miners do not need to clear forest during exploration.

“Once they can prove the reserve and its economic feasibility, they can then apply for permits to clear the area,” he said.

Reporting by Wilda Asmarini, Bernadette Christina, Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Jason Neely