(Adds comments, context)
JAKARTA Dec 28 The Indonesian Association of
Mineral Entrepreneurs (Apemindo) has asked the government to
allow exports of low-grade nickel ore, executive director
Ladjiman Damanik told reporters on Wednesday.
Indonesia has tried to limit exports of metal ores to
encourage local mining companies to build their own smelters to
process the ore locally. But the government has also made some
concessions on this policy after protests from the mining
Damanik said the association was asking for an export quota
of 20 million tonnes per year of low-grade nickel ore for 3 to 5
Miners are willing to accept export quotas based on progress
of smelters they are constructing, Damanik said.
"If Freeport can export their concentrate, why can't we," he
said, referring to the U.S. mining company which operates in
Mining and energy minister Ignasius Jonan told Reuters last
week that Indonesia was considering allowing some exports of
ores such as bauxite and nickel under certain conditions.
The government aims to have an amendment to an existing
mining regulation early in January to ease the impact the
restrictions on ore exports. A full ban on unprocessed mineral
ores is supposed to come in on Jan. 12.
(Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy;
Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jane Merriman)