The government may pat itself on the back over a small victory against opponents of its move to ease exports of lightly processed minerals.

Earlier this year, it issued Government Regulation (PP) No. 1/2017 and its implementing rules, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministerial Decrees No. 5/2017 and 6/2017, which allow miners to ship overseas copper concentrates, low-grade nickel ore and washed bauxite so long as they commit to building smelters locally and divest 51 percent of their shares to national entities.

Many legal experts and environmentalists responded to what they considered a policy mishap with ire, accusing the government of violating the 2009 Mining Law, which stipulates a total export ban on all mineral ores and semiprocessed minerals as of 2014.

On March 3, stakeholders comprising experts and activists from 20 institutions filed a petition for a judicial review with the Supreme Court.

However, their bold action came to nought as on Aug. 3, the court rejected their request.

“Until now, we have yet to receive a copy of the ruling, which we will thoroughly review to determine our next legal steps,” Ahmad Redi, a law expert from the Jakarta-based Tarumanagara University, who represents the coalition, said Tuesday.

The court is expected to send a copy of the ruling to the coalition within two weeks.

Ahmad said his team did not understand the reason behind the court’s decision, although he acknowledged that the latter found no legal loopholes in the newly issued regulations.

The coalition has several options to further challenge the regulations, including filing another petition with the court for a judicial review of Decree No. 28/2017, which replaced Decree No. 5/2017, and contesting the President at the district court for alleged unlawful acts.

“We’ll see later where it goes,” Ahmad said.

One of the major criticisms over the export ban relaxation is that the government gave false hope to companies that invested sizeable amounts in building smelters in anticipation of a much stricter rule.

Many parties said the policy benefited only mining giants, notably PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of United States-based Freeport McMoRan Inc. and PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara, owned by PT Medco Internasional. The two miners have yet to reveal any significant progress in developing smelters.

In protest of another government policy, namely permitting Freeport to export copper concentrates temporarily from February to October by granting the firm a temporary special mining license (IUPK), the coalition is also considering filing suit with a state administrative court (PTUN).

While the coalition found the court ruling troubling, the government got a boost to move forward with its regulations.

Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry spokesman Dadan Kusdiana said the ruling was just and should be respected as Indonesia followed the rule of law.

“That is why the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry will continue to implement PP No. 1/2017, Decree No. 5/2017 and Decree No. 6/2017,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Separately, Maryati Abdullah, the coordinator for civil society organization Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia, said the government’s decision to issue overlapping policies was a bad precedent for the country’s mining industry.

Such a policy, she said, could be followed by other controversial regulations that could lead to uncertainty for investors.

“Overlapping policies will not attract investors. Such policies will only scare them,” Maryati said.

In the BMI Mining Risk/Reward Index published on May 16 by Fitch Group’s BMI Research, Indonesia only got 25.4 points out of 100 in the category of mining regulation in a sign that its mining sector is unattractive.


Sumber: The Jakarta Post (PressReader)