Jakarta – Indonesia will allow miners Freeport Indonesia and Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara to continue exporting copper concentrate until next year, despite a ban starting this June, to allow for their smelters to be completed, the mining minister said on Friday.
The government is due to ban exports of raw minerals like copper and bauxite from June as part of efforts to attract investment into its metals processing industry and boost the value of its exports.
Delays to copper smelter construction caused by the pandemic prompted the government to temporarily exempt some firms from the ban, minister Arifin Tasrif told reporters.
"We are pushing so these smelters development can be concluded as soon as possible," he said, adding they are expected to be completed in May next year.
He said Freeport and Amman will therefore be allowed to export until May 2024. The ministry will issue a regulation detailing requirements for the export leniency for copper.
Arifin said both smelters are currently at round 60% completion.
Freeport Indonesia and Amman Mineral did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Freeport is building a $3 billion copper smelter in East Java to process 1.7 million tonnes of copper concentrate, while Amman's smelter in West Nusa Tenggara will have an input capacity of 900,000 tonnes.
Asked about the bauxite export ban, Arifin suggested there could be no leniency for bauxite, the most common raw material used in the production of aluminum.
The country banned exports of nickel in 2020 and has since attracted huge investment into nickel processing, much of it from China.