JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia aims to speed up enforcement of a ban on mineral ore exports that is currently due to come into force in 2020, news website Detik.com quoted coordinating minister for maritime affairs Luhut Pandjaitan as saying on Monday.
“Just wait until the announcement, the point is we want to move to downstream. We will speed this up,” Pandjaitan told reporters, according to Detik.com.
The ban is aimed at making miners process minerals in Indonesia, a major exporter of nickel ore used mainly in the stainless steel industry.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said on Friday that President Joko Widodo had asked for feedback from his cabinet on possibly bringing forward the ban on ore exports from 2022.
Pandjaitan told reporters that the expected change of timeline should not disrupt ongoing development of smelters.
Last week the Indonesia Nickel Miners Association urged the government to stick to the 2022 timetable as an earlier-than- expected export ban would disrupt revenue for miners needed to finance smelters development.
Indonesia relaxed a ban on ore exports in 2017, but only for five years and said exports would be restricted again in 2022.
As of July, Indonesia had 13 operating nickel smelters with input capacity of 24.52 million tonnes, which the miners’ group said is not enough capacity to absorb ore output.
Government data shows that 22 more nickel smelters are currently under development with additional capacity of 46.33 million tonnes.
Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Susan Fenton