Indonesian Miners Demand Longer Transition for New Rule
Coal miners have called on the government to extend the transition period for implementing a new coal-export rule that creates longer procedures before shipment.
In a change to previous arrangements, from Sept. 1 Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal, will require miners to be registered exporters to allow them to ship the commodity overseas.
To submit applications for the license, they must receive a recommendation from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, which should issue a clear-and-clean status.
Indonesian Coal Producers Association (APBI) chairman Bob Kamandanu welcomed the new regulation, but questioned the short transition period to adjust and comply with it, particularly because shipment procedures had become more complicated.
“We need at least a three-month transition period to enable all miners to process the requirements,” Bob said on Thursday.
The proof of royalty payments that should be attached for verification by surveyors could also hamper shipments on weekends when government offices were closed and delays in shipment could incur additional costs for demurrage, he added.
At present, holders of coal-mining licenses can ship at any time as they may show proof of paid royalties three months before the shipment. Under the new rule, coal cargoes should be verified by surveyors appointed by the government before they are loaded onto vessels.
The time frame for royalty payments has not been specified.
Exports are restricted to anthracite, bituminous coal, briquettes, lignite, peat, coke and semi-coke. With the traceability required by the regulation, the government aimed to ensure that there would be no more shipments from illegal mining activities, Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi told reporters during an Idul Fitri gathering at his office.
The tightened procedures for coal exports are in line with the recommendations by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) regarding illegal mining activities which deprive the state of royalties.
According to various studies, there has also been over-exploitation of coal in past years leading to massive environmental destruction.
Indonesia’s coal exports climbed to 413.53 million metric tons in 2013 from 220.86 million tons in 2009, while the value surged to US$23.81 billion from $13.02 billion, data from the Trade Ministry shows.
Indonesian Geologist Association (IAGI) chief of natural resources division Singgih Widaggo voiced similar concerns, saying that more time was needed before the regulation was put into effect. As well as that, the government had to explain the new policy to officials, including mining agencies and customs offices at local administrations.
“Otherwise, this will create uncertainties during the transition period,” he said, adding that miners could be subject to accusations of illegal delivery when shipping coal during the permit application. —JP/Linda Yulisman - The Jakarta Post