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Indonesian miner Amman asks for copper export ban delay

27th March 2024

By: Reuters

  

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JAKARTA - Indonesian copper miner PT Amman Mineral Internasional is in negotiations with the government to allow it to continue exporting copper concentrate beyond May 31, its chief executive said on Wednesday, while predicting a surge in output this year.

Indonesia will impose an export ban on copper concentrate from June, a policy meant to force miners to invest in smelting facilities at home. The government wants miners to sell products with higher values to boost export earnings.

Amman's appeal for relaxation of the export ban follows similar request by copper miner Freeport Indonesia.

"We are optimistic government will provide us with export restriction relaxation because it serves no one to restrict our exports, because the government also relies on both Freeport and us for tax revenues," Amman CEO Alexander Ramlie told a conference attended by media and investors.

Freeport Indonesia, controlled by mining giant Freeport McMoran, has argued its smelter won't be ready to process all of its output by May, warning the company may have to cut production if the government refuses to provide leniency.

Amman's smelter construction will be 90% completed by May, finished later in the second quarter and it will reach full production capacity in the first quarter of 2025, said director Naveen Chandralal.

However, the firm is expanding its storage facility so it can continue to mine even if the export embargo remains, Ramlie said.

The company is targeting production of 833 000 dry metric tons (dmt) of copper concentrate in 2024, a 54% increase from last year, supported by high-grade ore from Phase 7 at its Batu Hijau mine.

Amman executives said they could not give a sales target due to uncertainty regarding Indonesia's export policy.

Its production and sales results in 2023 were hit by high rainfall at the beginning of the year, resulting in a 32% drop in both figures. The company produced 541893 dmt of copper concentrate last year and sold 548 313 dmt.

Indonesia's copper export ban was originally set to enter into force in June 2023, but the government allowed Freeport and Amman more time to comply to help them fund smelter construction.

Edited by Reuters

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