* Govt ban on semi-processed metal ores took effect Thursday
* Shipments of lead, zinc, and iron concentrates also banned
* Jakarta seeks to ease ban, but still finalising details
(Recasts, adds comment from Freeport)
By Wilda Asmarini
JAKARTA, Jan 12 Freeport-McMoRan and other
miners have halted Indonesian shipments of copper concentrates
to abide by a government ban on semi-processed metal ore exports
that took effect on Thursday, a mining ministry official told
The stoppage could prove to be brief though as President
Joko Widodo's administration hammers out new regulations that
could ease the ban and allow the resumption of some exports.
Mining Minister Ignasius Jonan is expected to hold a news
conference on the new rules later on Thursday.
The temporary halt in Indonesian copper exports was not
expected to have an immediate impact on global copper prices
due to China's ample metal stockpiles ahead of the
Chinese New Year at the end of the month. It would take export
delays of several weeks to bolster prices, traders said.
Indonesia announced in 2014 a ban on ore shipments to push
miners to build smelters to process ore locally, although it
allowed some concentrate exports to continue amid protests from
The full ban, which also covers lead, zinc, iron and
manganese concentrates, took effect on Thursday, meaning only
shipments of fully processed metals were now allowed.
Asked if shipments of copper concentrates from Freeport
and Medco Energi unit Amman Mineral Nusatenggara have
stopped, Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot said,
"Yes, in accordance with the regulation."
Freeport and Medco officials were not immediately available
for comment on Thursday.
A Freeport spokesman said on Wednesday that the firm was
"working cooperatively with government officials to ensure that
our operations can continue without interruption." The company
has said its targeted production from its Grasberg mine was
180,000-200,000 tonnes of copper ore per day.
Government officials earlier this week said they would
introduce new rules that would allow concentrate shipments to
continue beyond Thursday's deadline in certain cases, but those
revisions have yet to be finalised.
Jakarta was also considering allowing the resumption of
nickel ore and bauxite shipments, which have been prohibited
since January 2014.
Any relaxation of Indonesia's ban on nickel ore exports
could affect nickel smelter investors as well as nickel prices
, which have been supported by supply restrictions,
including from the Philippines, which took Indonesia's place as
the world's top nickel ore exporter in 2014.
Mining ministry's Gatot declined on Thursday to comment on
when the new regulations would be released.
(Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Sydney; Writing by
Fergus Jensen; Editing by Tom Hogue and Randy Fabi)