SHANGHAI, Aug 14 (SMM) – Indonesia has approved 5.22 million wmt of nickel ore export quotas across three mines so far this month, exacerbating the uncertainty surrounding the country’s potential ban on raw ore exports.
In July, two mines obtained a total of 3.6 million wmt of nickel ore export quotas.
The newly-issued quotas brought the tally since 2017 to 71.57 million wmt, with 38.61 wmt still effective as of August 13. Quotas will expire in a year.
The three mines are Toshida, PT. Tonia Mitra Sejahtera and PT. Rohul Energi, and none of them have built processing and refining facilities, which might indicate that the Indonesian government’s audit over ore exporters who are committed to onshore smelter construction is not so rigorous as previously estimated.
This, on the other hand, came in line with market chatter that Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) will no longer grant new export quotas after they approve applications at hand.
Under a 2017 mining regulation, Indonesia is expected to stop allowing the export of unprocessed ore from January 2022. But speculation that the country will bring forward the export ban sparked fears of a supply shortage and boosted nickel prices.
SMM expects supply tightness if Indonesia stops granting new export quotas. Shipment capacity of mines, meanwhile, will likely keep actual supply from growing as much as quotas, as a slew of mines had failed to use up all quotas before expiration.