The Jakarta Post
Listed diversified miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) will fully abide by the ore export ban to be implemented by the government beginning in 2014, even though the company will have to scale down some of its mining operations due to the export restriction, the company's senior executive says.
Antam president director Tato Miraza said in Jakarta on Wednesday that Antam, the shares of which are controlled by the government, was ready to 'suffer' in order to support the ban, because the measure would not only help increase prices but also strengthen the country's downstream mining business.
'We surely will suffer. We may even have to shut down some of our mining sites. However, it is for the greater good,' Tato said during a meeting with The Jakarta Post.
According to the 2009 Mining Law, miners will have to process their mineral ore at their own smelters or at independent smelters beginning January 2014, before exporting their mineral production. Miners that do not have a smelter or are reluctant to process their mineral raw at other smelters will be required to sell their mineral production on the domestic market.
Tato said the company was currently expanding the capacity of its nickel smelters to ensure that the company would be able to process the larger part of its nickel ore production before it was exported.
He said that Antam would likely lose Rp 5 trillion in revenue from the exports of nickel ore earnings next year as nickel ore shipments to foreign buyers would be totally stopped once the regulation came into effect.
The company sold 4 million wet metric tons (wmt) of nickel ore during the January to May period, a 57 percent increase from the same period last year. Antam expects to sell 11.5 million wmt in nickel ore this year, increasing by around 43 percent from 8 million wmt in 2012.
Based on government figures, total nickel ore exports reached 35 million tons in 2012, rising from 33 million metric tons a year earlier. Indonesia is a main nickel ore supplier to the world's biggest nickel ore buyer, China, which consumes about 50 million tons nickel ore per year.
A weak global economy and China's economic slowdown have pushed down nickel prices due to an increase in inventory.
Nickel stockpiles rose by 1 percent to a record of 190,590 metric tons on Thursday, according to the London Metal Exchange (LME), reported Bloomberg.
Nickel's three-month delivery dropped 1.3 percent to end at US$13,855 per ton Wednesday at the LME, the biggest drop since June 26, according to Bloomberg. The metal's price has fallen 19 percent year to date and touched the lowest of $13,525 on June 25.
'When the export ban is implemented, we are sure that the commodity's price will rebound. We as a mining company will have only one risk, which is price. No matter how much we push production, it would be useless if the price remained at the current level,' Antam finance director Djaja Tambunan said.
In addition to nickel, Antam is also engaged in gold, bauxite and coal mining. However, about 33 percent of its revenue comes from nickel ore exports. The company also exports ferronickel.
Meanwhile, Antam is scheduled to begin the operation of its chemical grade alumina plant in Tayan, West Kalimantan in October, this year. The company spent $490 million on the construction of the smelter, which will have a production capacity of 300,000 tons per year. Antam is building a smelter grade alumina plant in Mempawah in the same provicne.
Shares in Antam, traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the code ANTM, closed at Rp 1,000 on Thursday, increasing 4.16 percent compared to a day earlier.
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