Indonesia' energy and mineral resources ministry halt nickel ore export for temporally starting today to evaluate the nickel mining contract, said the minister on Tuesday (10/29) - Photo by Bilaterals

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Indonesian government has lifted the ban on nickel ore export for nine of 11 companies after inspections into reports of ore export rules violations, a senior minister said on Monday (11/11). Two other firms are still facing further review and will be finished this week.

“After an investigation of 11 companies that were evaluated, we have officially lifted the export ban for nine exporters because they are proven to follow the rules that we make. As long as they follow the rules, we allow them to export,” coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan told reporters in his office.

The minister who also oversees the energy sector adding the review of the two other companies which still banned- PT Tonia Mitra Sejahtera dan PT Toshiba Indonesia – will finish this week. When asked why both companies still banned, Pandjaitan just said that the exporters are required to build smelters and authorities would review the progress of their projects every six months.

The lifted ban rules were issued by the director-general of the country’s customs office on Monday through its letter numbered ND1076/BC/2019, based on the memorandum of intelligence results for the smelter progress of each company that pocketed export licenses and inspection into the field from 29 October to 2 November 2019.

“The nine companies have shown that their smelter projects were progressing as planned, have valid export approval documents and their ores met with required contents,” said the director Heru Pambudi, mention among allowed to export again are PT Aneka Tambang and PT Trimegah Bangun Persada.

The fresh move was taken after last week, the government announced the ban to be applied for around two weeks amid an investigation into alleged violations of the nickel ore export rules by companies.

The ban was later criticized by some mining companies and experts, saying that the government was being inconsistent with the 2019 ministerial decree No. 11, issued by the Energy and Mineral Ministry, stipulating the official start date of ban on nickel ore export, which is January 1, 2020.

Following the disapproval, Pandjaitan said that the ban has been lifted for companies compliant with the existing regulations. Earlier, the senior minister said that the government had found a surge in nickel ore exports during the past two months.

The number of monthly shipments had tripled or become 100-130 export cargoes per month from around 30 cargoes per month, which is the regular number of monthly shipments according to Pandjaitan.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com