JAKARTA, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Indonesia may give mining companies a further three to five years to complete smelter projects before banning mineral exports, the country's mining minister said on Tuesday, amid government discussions of revisions to rules on the sector.
Miners that have not built smelters within five years could have their permits revoked, minister Luhut Pandjaitan told reporters.
"We will provide an opportunity to companies building smelters, in the form of a relaxation in stages, in accordance with progress on smelter development," Pandjaitan said. "They will also have to pay an export tax that we will impose in stages according to their smelter development progress."
The change would be a potential breakthrough to miners like U.S. giant Freeport McMoRan Inc., which under existing rules would not be allowed to export copper concentrate beyond January 2017. (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Richard Pullin)