China’s Tianshan Aluminum Sinks on Plan to Buy Three Bauxite Mines in Indonesia for USD30.3 Million

JAKARTA – Doubling downward on Republic of indonesia’s value-added mineral policy which has fatigued fire from the Globe Trade System (WTO) and European importers, a defiant President Joko Widodo insists his administration will go alee with its plan to ban bauxite exports in June side by side year.

Widodo fabricated the announcement only days after returning from a visit to Brussels where he told the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Eu (EU) summit that relations between the two regional blocs had to change.

“If nosotros want to build a expert partnership, then (it) must be based on equality, in that location should be no coercion,” he said in a surprisingly assertive statement. “There should no longer be anyone dictating and assuming their standard is better than others.”

“Indonesia wishes to underline the fact that developments that take added value and inclusivity will aid support the earth’s economical resilience,” he continued. “In this instance, Indonesia will continue to build our downstream industry.”

The regime acknowledged information technology will initially lose an annual US$500-600 one thousand thousand in export earnings, but Economic Analogous Minister Airlangga Hartarto says increased refining will boost country revenues from 21 trillion rupiah ($i.37 billion) to 62 trillion rupiah ($4.0 billion) a year.

Although the country’due south iii smelters produced 1.36 million tonnes of powdery alumina, or intermediate-stage aluminum oxide, in 2021, Republic of indonesia still spends $2 billion a year importing finished aluminum for its domestic marketplace.

This picture taken in Kendawangan, West Kalimantan on Borneo island on February 13, 2017 shows piles of bauxite materials at a bauxite mining belonging to Harita group in Kendawangan. 
An overhaul of Indonesian mining rules has sparked fresh concern for investors in a sector long plagued by uncertainty and triggered a fierce battle with one of the world's biggest miners. / AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY / TO GO WITH AFP STORY: Indonesia-mining-economy, FOCUS by Sam Reeves
This picture show taken in Kendawangan, West Borneo on Borneo island on February xiii, 2017, shows piles of bauxite materials at a bauxite mining site. Photo: AFP / Adek Drupe

It is expected another viii refineries will be in operation by 2025, with alumina production eventually rising to 12.6 million tonnes, compared to the existing world output of 141,465 tonnes.

Industry players are worried, nevertheless, well-nigh the availability of clean energy to run the smelters in a province that has only 425 megawatts of electricity chapters. Many banks and other financial institutions are refusing to fund projects that use coal-fired power plants for futurity operations.

The government is relying on a proposed 9,000MW hydro plant on the Kayan River, which volition supply power to North Kalimantan’s 10,000-hectare Tanah Kuning Industrial zone, the expected site of futurity aluminum processing.

That will mean barging bauxite from the opposite side of Kalimantan isle, a distance by ocean of about 1,500 kilometers, just much still depends on whether Republic of indonesia can attract the foreign investment needed for the $22 billion project.

Most of Indonesia’south bauxite was originally exported to Prc, by far the globe’s largest aluminum producer. But that ended abruptly when the Indonesian government stopped exports of raw ore in 2014 in the promise of attracting new investment.

The lack of refinery capacity forced many mining companies to shut down, leaving 260 open-pit mines abandoned beyond the province. Instead of building their ain smelters, the Chinese found suppliers in Africa and Dki jakarta finally dropped the ban in 2017.

Like controversy attended a calendar month-long ban on coal exports last Jan afterwards stockpiles at local power plants plunged to critically-depression levels, and a brusk-lived halt to palm oil shipments in May aimed at protecting domestic consumers.

Republic of indonesia is currently appealing a WTO ruling that favored the European union in a dispute over Republic of indonesia’s Baronial 2019 decision to ban exports of nickel, the mineral that has driven its move to the forefront of the global electrical battery industry on the back of massive Chinese investments.

Nickel mining in Sulawesi. The EU is challenging an Indonesian ban on raw nickel ore exports. Image: Facebook

The WTO agreed with the Eu claim that neither the prohibition of nickel exports nor the domestic processing requirement conformed with global trading rules. But Widodo, a erstwhile article of furniture maker, made it clear he would not exist deterred.

“We want to be a adult country, we want to create jobs,” the president alleged in a motility that has the support of nationalist-minded Indonesians. “If we are scared of beingness sued, and we step back, we will not become a adult country.”

Manufacture sources say they sympathize Widodo made the bauxite announcement sooner than expected because he wanted to send a message to nickel fabricators that Indonesia’s policy would not be thrown off course by the WTO instance.

The authorities looks set to go ahead with a ban on tin exports next year also, just it will likely accept longer to figure out the implications of imposing a like probation on shipments of copper concentrate currently produced by only two mining companies.

The government is said to exist waiting until local producers tin blot one-half of the annual output of two.2 million tonnes of concentrate before lowering the boom; just i smelter is currently in performance, merely ii others are under structure.

The Ministry of Free energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) estimates Republic of indonesia has three.2 billion tonnes of bauxite, or about 4% of world reserves, well-nigh of it located in West Borneo and to a lesser extent in the Sumatran province of Riau where mining goes back to the Dutch colonial era.

The bauxite ban will initially put upwards force per unit area on the price of refined aluminum, which peaked at $4,000 a tonne terminal March and now stands at about $2,400. Merely the longer-term outlook looks weak as the world economy begins to stammer.

The Financial Times said in an editorial that Widodo was playing what it called “a unsafe game,” pointing to the damaging fallout from previous commodity restrictions and warning “he volition presently run out of commodities to ban.”

Seemingly emboldened past the success of the recent G20 Meridian and his get-go real deep dive into international diplomacy, the president insists the assistants will continue to pursue its efforts to impose sovereignty over its natural resource.

Illegal miners unregulated use of mercury and cyanide to extract valuable ores is causing environmental damage across areas of Indonesia. Photo: Facebook
A pocket-sized-calibration miner in Indonesia. Photograph: Facebook

Dating back to the controversial 2009 Mining Law, the value-added policy is meant to compel strange companies to invest in smelters as a fashion of increasing foreign substitution earnings, boosting jobs and improving overall economic growth.

“The investment proposition is unappealing,” said the Financial Times, whose Indonesia-related news coverage has picked upwardly in recent months. “Indonesia lacks infrastructure and reliable legal protections for foreign owners. Financing factories would be costly.”

“There is an equilibrium of benefits in the relationship between a resource-rich nation and customers,” the newspaper concluded. “Indonesia’due south repeated efforts to skew this are counter-productive.”


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