Jokowi Will Ban Copper Exports with a Lack of Smelters

smelter, tembaga, larangan ekspor tembaga, hilirisasi

President Joko Widodo again signaled to expand the scope of mineral downstreaming. After halting nickel exports since January 2020 and bauxite in June 2023, the government will also ban copper exports in the middle of this year.

In order to encourage the implementation of copper downstreaming, the government must ensure the absorption of raw materials in the country by providing mineral processing plants or smelters. Then how many copper smelters are there in Indonesia today?

According to data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources until November 2022, there are two copper smelters that have been operating. In addition, there are two other smelters under construction, namely owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in Gresik, East Java, and owned by PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara (AMNT) in Benete, West Sumbawa Regency, NTB.

Head of MIND ID’s Institutional Relations Division, Niko Chandra, said that the progress of smelter construction until the end of December 2022 has reached around 50% and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

“The refining facility will be able to start operations by the end of May 2024. And then gradually, an increase in operating output will be carried out until commercial operations at the end of 2024,” said Niko in a short message on Wednesday (11/1).

Niko said that PTFI’s refining facility construction project includes three main projects, including a new copper smelter with a capacity of 1.7 million tons per year in the Java Integrated Industrial and Port Estate (JIIPE) Gresik industrial area.

In addition, there is an expansion of PT Smelting 300 thousand tons per year and Precious Metal Refinery (PMR) with a capacity of 6 thousand tons per year, both of which are also located in JIIPE.

“The project’s capex reaches around US$ 3 billion and uses double flash smelting & converting technology. The main products produced include copper cathodes, gold and pure silver bars,” said Niko.

“With the operation of PTFI’s new smelter later, it will be possible for PTFI to refine all copper concentrates in the country,” he added.

Meanwhile, the procurement of a copper smelter owned by PT Amman Mineral in West Sumbawa Regency is projected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Amman Mineral’s Corporate Communication Manager, Kartika Octaviana, said that the development of smelter construction until November 2022 reached 47% with a total investment value of US$ 1 million.

Later the copper smelter will be able to produce copper cathodes up to 222,000 tons per year. This copper processing and refining plant was built in the Batu Hijau area, close to the company’s mine site.

“The concentrate sand is processed in a smelter, the copper cathode comes out in the form of a slab,” said Kartika when met at the Nusantara I DPR Building on Thursday (10/11/2022).

The construction of this smelter is lower than the target set to be fully operational by July 2023. Kartika explained that the delay was caused by external conditions such as the Covid-19 Pandemic and unstable global geopolitical conditions.


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