Jakarta – The new Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) is expected to continue the downstream program by encouraging mineral mining companies to build smelters in accordance with the mandate of Law No. 4 of 2009. On the other hand, as a consequence of the downstream program, the export ban unprocessed minerals which will be put into effect in January 2017, must be held firm.

National Coordinator of Publish What You Pay Indonesia (PWYP), Maryati Abdullah said the obligation to build a smelter as it is currently in force is a step in reforming the mineral sector that is very much in line with the people’s economic spirit. By encouraging mineral companies to build smelters, he continued, the added value and multiplier effects obtained by the community and the country will experience a significant increase.

“The government, in this case, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, must continue to consistently implement the downstream policy and prepare the downstream industry which is integrated with the processing industry, electricity facilities, and incentives,” said Maryati, in Jakarta, Thursday (18/8).

Maryati added that the next important step that must be continued by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources is to consistently implement the mineral export ban in January 2017. Some companies have found it easy to export concentrates so far with the hope that they will build a smelter. However, he said, the facility was not even returned in good faith by showing the progress of smelter construction. Meanwhile, 27 companies have shown their commitment to building smelters.

“The government has given concentrate export time until 2017, so inevitably the provisions must be obeyed. The government should no longer provide leeway but rather help provide breakthrough solutions to accelerate the overall implementation of the downstream program, “she said.

Meanwhile, Hasanuddin University (Unhas) Mining Law Expert, Abrar Saleng, agreed that the government’s firm steps in implementing the Minerba Law should be continued. In order to ensure legal certainty, the current minister does not need to make new policies that have the potential to cause overlap or confusion in terms of legal certainty. The mandate of the Minerba Law is clear, namely to build smelters and these obligations must continue to be emphasized by various supporting regulations.

“The government must stick to the decision to be consistent. If it is true that the revision of the Minerba Law is carried out at this time, the government should oversee that the revision of the Minerba Law reinforces the aim of increasing the added value of the mining sector through the construction of smelters. In addition, it is also necessary to encourage smelter products to be absorbed domestically by creating a domestic market for smelter products. No more withdrawing from the mandate of the Minerba Law, “he explained.

There are currently 27 smelters from various mineral commodities to date. Although it is still a little, this is fairly rapid progress considering the difficulty of collaboration of stakeholders in the ESDM sector to realize this program. “The step forward must be continued by the current Minister,” Abrar said.