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JAKARTA, Dec 28 (Reuters) - The Indonesian Association of Mineral Entrepreneurs (Apemindo) has asked the government to allow exports of low-grade nickel ore, executive director Ladjiman Damanik told reporters on Wednesday.
Indonesia has tried to limit exports of metal ores to encourage local mining companies to build their own smelters to process the ore locally. But the government has also made some concessions on this policy after protests from the mining industry.
Damanik said the association was asking for an export quota of 20 million tonnes per year of low-grade nickel ore for 3 to 5 years.
Miners are willing to accept export quotas based on progress of smelters they are constructing, Damanik said.
"If Freeport can export their concentrate, why can't we," he said, referring to the U.S. mining company which operates in Indonesia.
Mining and energy minister Ignasius Jonan told Reuters last week that Indonesia was considering allowing some exports of ores such as bauxite and nickel under certain conditions.
The government aims to have an amendment to an existing mining regulation early in January to ease the impact the restrictions on ore exports. A full ban on unprocessed mineral ores is supposed to come in on Jan. 12.
Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jane Merriman