| JAKARTA, March 29
JAKARTA, March 29 Indonesia's state-owned miner
Aneka Tambang (Antam) has been granted an initial
approval to export up to 2.7 million tonnes of nickel ore over
the next 12 months, a mining ministry official said on
Indonesia was the world's top nickel ore exporter before it
imposed a ban on unprocessed nickel ore exports in 2014 in a bid
to encourage miners and customers to invest in a domestic
This year, however, the country relaxed the ban to allow
companies that had built or were planning to build smelters to
export low-grade nickel ore under certain
Indonesia's ore export ban has supported nickel prices and a
resumption of its shipments could hurt prices of the metal.
"In terms of administration it's OK. Now all that's left is
for it to be signed by the director general," Mineral Enterprise
Director Bambang Susigit said.
Earlier, Susigit told domestic media that the amount was
less than the 6 million tonnes of nickel ore exports that Antam
had requested, in accordance with the company's existing
capacity to process low-grade nickel ore at its smelters. He
also said that feasibility studies for the company's smelter
developments needed to be independently verified.
A spokesman for Antam said the company was still waiting for
the recommendation to be officially issued by the mining
ministry, and declined to comment further.
Antam said in February it had stockpiles of an estimated 5
million wet metric tonnes of low-grade nickel ore that was ready
Antam shares gained around 3.5 percent on Wednesday, while
the broader Jakarta Composite Index that closed up 0.93
Benchmark three-month nickel futures on the London Metals
Exchange were down around 0.25 percent to $9,970 per
tonne at 10.35 GMT.
(Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing
by Mark Potter)