Indonesian export ban a mixed bag for neighbors

Indonesia's recent ban on mineral ore exports aims to force foreign companies to start processing in the country.

Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters
An excavator digs for nickel ore at Mobi Jaya Persada's mining area, Dampala village in Marowali, central Sulawesi, January 12, 2014. Hundreds of small Indonesian mines, like nickel miner Mobi Jaya Persada, are preparing for the worst after the government imposed a controversial mineral export ban on Sunday that could force them to close down.

Indonesia’s recently announced ban on mineral ore exports is a bid to force foreign companies to invest in processing plants within the country – and not just send its mineral resources abroad for others to refine.

But it’s already having an impact far from Indonesia.

Metals indexes rose in Philippines, for example, a country with a nickel mining industry that stands to benefit from the Indonesia export ban.

“It’s the usual ‘one person’s loss is someone else’s gain,’” notes our correspondent covering Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

But it ultimately may hurt China, which currently imports bauxite, among other things, from Indonesia – and has angered Jakarta by stockpiling loads of it.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Frontier Markets.

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