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Bernadette Christina

Indonesia's 'Good Palm' drive enflames anger as smoke clouds skies

18 Sep 2019

JAKARTA Indonesia is facing a backlash over an online campaign backing palm oil at a time when forest fires, often linked to slash-and-burn land clearance, have spread choking smoke across the region, raising growing concern about damage to health.

Indonesia sees surge in nickel-related exports after ore export ban

04 Sep 2019

JAKARTA Indonesia's ban on nickel ore exports could boost the country's earnings from the metal five-fold in the next five years through growth in industries such as stainless steel and battery materials, a minister said on Wednesday.

Indonesia sees surge in nickel-related exports after ore export ban

04 Sep 2019

JAKARTA, Sept 4 Indonesia's ban on nickel ore exports could boost the country's earnings from the metal five-fold in the next five years through growth in industries such as stainless steel and battery materials, a minister said on Wednesday.

Global nickel supply to drop on Indonesia's ore export ban in 2020

02 Sep 2019

JAKARTA Indonesia said on Monday it will stop nickel ore exports from January 1, 2020, two years earlier than initially indicated, as it speeds up efforts to process more of its resources at home.

UPDATE 4-Global nickel supply to drop on Indonesia's ore export ban in 2020

02 Sep 2019

* Ban to begin on Jan. 1, two years ahead of schedule -official * LME nickel price surges to most in 5 years * Global nickel market facing 100,000 T deficit next year -Antaike * Indonesia to have additional $20bln investment -minister (Adds investment estimate from senior minister) By Wilda Asmarini and Bernadette Christina JAKARTA, Sept 2 Indonesia said on Monday it will stop nickel ore exports from Jan. 1, 2020, two years earlier than initially indicated, as it speeds up efforts to process more of its resources at home. Bambang Gatot Ariyono, the director general for coal and minerals at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said the ban will be applicable to all grades of nickel ore and ordered exporters to stop shipments from that date regardless of standing contracts. "That is why we are announcing now so they have four months of transition time," Ariyono told reporters. Nickel prices have surged on speculation about an expedited ban and Monday's announcement. The three-month nickel contract on the London Metal Exchange rose as much as 5.3% to $18,850 a tonne on Monday, its highest in nearly five years, adding to Friday's 9% gain. Goldman Sachs said in a note on Sunday it expects London nickel prices to reach $20,000 per tonne in three months due to the ban. Indonesia, the world's biggest nickel ore producer, accounted for 26% of global nickel ore supply last year, according to the International Nickel Study Group, and the ban will affect the supply of ore to China, the world's biggest nickel consumer. China imports the ore to produce nickel pig iron (NPI) that is then used to produce stainless steel. The ore ban is likely to disrupt China's NPI output, though Indonesia may be able to make up the shortfall. Antaike, the research arm of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said in a note on Monday the global nickel market will be in a deficit of more than 100,000 tonnes in 2020 due to the expedited ban, as opposed to a 40,000 tonne deficit without it. Companies that produce nickel, also used for batteries for electric vehicles, are calculating how long their current ore inventories will last, Antaike said. Nickel ore stockpiles at Chinese ports stood at 13.33 million tonnes as of Aug. 30, of which 2.76 million tonnes were from Indonesia and 10.46 million tonnes were from the Philippines, Antaike Chief Nickel Analyst Xu Aidong said. "Maybe some Philippines nickel ore will replace or offset the shortage but it couldn't meet all the requirement for the Chinese companies because the grade of Philippine nickel ore is lower than that of Indonesia," Xu said. ACCELERATED BAN Indonesia had initially said it would ban nickel ore exports from January 2022, according to a rule released in 2017. On Monday, Ariyono said the timetable was expedited because of the limited pool of mineable nickel resources. "The national proven reserve for nickel is only 698 million tonnes, which can only supply smelting facilities for 7.3 years," he told reporters, adding that Indonesia currently has 11 working smelters with input capacity of 24 million tonnes of ore. It has 25 more smelting facilities in the pipeline. While the nickel ore ban has been moved up, Indonesia will end exports of bauxite and copper concentrates in 2022 as planned. Local miners have complained that their smelter projects will stall if exports are cut off, stopping the revenue stream needed to finance development. Ariyono said miners should not rely only on revenue from exports to finance their smelters. State miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) is ready to support the new policy, Chief Executive Arie Prabowo Ariotedjo said in a text message, adding that the rules will benefit companies that already have smelters such as Antam. The government aims to have 36 nickel smelters by 2022 with a total input capacity of 81 million tonnes. Ariyono, said there are four mega projects among the 25 smelters currently in the pipeline. These projects will help Indonesia accelerate the development of its electric vehicle (EV) battery industry, he said. Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister overseeing mining, said investment into nickel processing plants has reached $10 billion and expects an additional $20 billion in the next five years. "We will have the supply chain and become a global player in lithium battery production through to electric vehicles," Pandjaitan said. Indonesia has put the export ban in place to support the EV battery industry by keeping cobalt resources, which are important for lithium batteries, in the country since they are typically found in the low-grade nickel ores that are shipped out, said Sukhyar, an official with the Industry Ministry, who previously was director general for coal and minerals. "We are talking about building industry for electric vehicles, which need cobalt as material. Why are we exporting them?," he said. The following is a table of the four largest nickel processing plants currently being constructed in Indonesia. Project Investment Input Output capacity Huayue $1.28 bln 11 mln 60,000 tonnes of nickel, Bahadopi tonnes 7,800 tonnes of cobalt QMB Bahodopi $998.5 mln 5 mln 50,000 tonnes of nickel, tonnes 4,000 tonnes of cobalt Halmahera $10.6 bln 8.3 mln 278,534 tonnes of mixed Persada Lygend tonnes hydroxide precipitate, nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate Smelter Nikel n/a 2.4 mln 76,500 tonnes of mixed Indonesia tonnes hydroxide precipitate, nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini, Bernadette Christina Munthe; additional reporting by Tom Daly in BEIJING; Writing by Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Christian Schmollinger, Jane Wardell and David Evans)

Indonesia tells some Jakarta supermarkets to remove 'palm oil-free' products

22 Aug 2019

JAKARTA Indonesia, the world's top palm oil producer, has told some retailers in Jakarta to remove food products with "palm oil-free" labels from their shops, a government official said, as it seeks to protect its key export.

Indonesian planters see drought hitting palm oil output

20 Aug 2019

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA Leading palm oil players in Indonesia see production growth being hit in the short to medium term, as the world's top grower of the edible oil faces drought across major planting regions that is expected to delay fruit ripening and lower output.

UPDATE 1-Nickel sizzle: Hot money piles into metal on Indonesia ore ban talk

08 Aug 2019

* Ore ruling change "uncertain" - senior official (Adds quotes, details)

Indonesia president bashes state power company over blackouts

05 Aug 2019

JAKARTA Indonesia's state power company PLN should have had plans in place to prevent a major electricity blackout that affected 21 million customers in Jakarta and neighbouring provinces, President Joko Widodo said on Monday.

Indonesia says EU anti-subsidy duty part of plan to block palm oil

26 Jul 2019

JAKARTA, July 26 The European Union's proposal to impose anti-subsidy duties on Indonesian biodiesel is part of a "grand design" to block palm oil, a senior official at Indonesia's Trade Ministry said on Friday.

World News

Hong Kong protests turn to violent clashes in two towns

Hong Kong police fired tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters on Saturday after pro-China groups pulled down some of the "Lennon Walls" of anti-government messages posted in the Chinese-ruled city in more than three months of unrest.