The government is seeking a legal avenue to sidestep the ban on raw ore exports, which will go into effect early next year, after the House of Representatives recently rejected a proposal to exempt certain mining companies from the rule.
The Trade Ministry's director general for foreign trade, Bachrul Chairi, said Tuesday that the government was considering setting a regulation on the minimum purity threshold for processed ore produced by local mining companies.
"We are now discussing the possibility. Setting [a purity level] will likely become the solution," Bachrul told reporters at this office. By fixing a minimum purity threshold, certain mining companies that already partially processed their ores could still be allowed to export.
Indonesian Mining Association (IMA) deputy chairman Tony Wenas said revising the threshold could be a way to get around the law. "The current purity regulation creates a gap between the minimum processing limit for copper [99.9 per cent] and nickel pig iron [6 per cent]," he said as quoted by Reuters.
Earlier on Monday, Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa said that the government was still seeking a way to allow mining companies that have concrete plans to build smelters to still be able to export their ore.
"We are trying to find a way, to find a solution. But that doesn't mean we are going to break the law […] we are going to talk again to the House," Hatta told Reuters.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik went to the House last week to propose that companies that had shown a commitment to building smelters ought to be exempted from the upcoming export ban on raw ore.
The proposal was rejected, although most of the country's miners would be unable to comply with the law, which only allows the export of ore that has first been processed in domestic smelters beginning Jan. 12.