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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           16  July 2011

Indonesia considers banning ore exports

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The Indonesian government is drafting a mining regulation that in the next three years could see the export of raw minerals banned, a senior minister has said.

Hatta Rajasa, the country's top economics minister, said on Friday that the ban could help the government get the country's miners to build smelters that would boost the value of exports.

"According to a law on minerals and coal, by 2014 we have to have stopped exporting raw ore," he said.

The ministerial decree would affect gold, nickel, tin, copper and silver, and order all miners in the country to process raw commodities before selling to the overseas market.

Hatta has worked on the policy and is coordinating with his counterparts at the ministries of finance, trade and energy, who would have to approve the plan before it could be implemented.

Thamrin Sihite, director general of coal and minerals at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said the proposed regulation was being discussed.

Some of the world's biggest mining companies operate in Indonesia, including US-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold in Papua, Newmont Mining on the islands of Sulawesi and Sumbawa and Australia's BHP Billiton in Kalimantan.

Domestic miners include Bumi Resources, the world's biggest exporter of thermal coal, state-owned nickel producer Aneka Tambang and coal miner Adaro Energy.

As an example, Hatta said companies should export ferronickel instead of raw nickel. He also said that copper exports would be required to have 99 percent metal content and coal at least 5,600 kilo calories. Exports of tin, the country's top commodity, would have to have a metal content of 99.85 percent.

Hatta also said the regulation, which is being called the mining road map, would include the renegotiation of all mining contracts and an audit of mining licenses. According to the minister, one-third of mining companies have been unwilling to renegotiate their contracts.

"That always happens in renegotiations, but the government still honors their contracts," he said. "We do not want to harm existing contracts, we just want justice. The spirit is win-win, fairness and togetherness. There should not be one-sided benefits.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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