Indonesia Mulling Bauxite Export Ban Next Year

Indonesia Mulling Bauxite Export Ban Next Year

Last week the Indonesian government announced that it would “hit the breaks” on a wide range of commodities, including bauxite ore, over the next several years in a bid to attract overseas investment and boost available jobs.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told the international press on Tuesday that his government is studying ways to enhance its downstream production and transitioning away from exporting only raw materials.

The country already prohibits the export of nickel, tin, and copper. Jokowi said new policies on other raw materials could come as soon as next year. At present, Indonesia plans to end bauxite ore exports in 2023.

“Don’t be surprised. We had nickel (export ban) before. Next year, we may stop bauxite, the next year we may stop something else.”

“We really want to hit the brakes on exporting raw materials because there is no value addition and it does not create jobs,” continued Jokowi, noting that export regulations would affect “all commodities.”

Indonesia produced about 7.1 million metric tons in 2018, up from 2.9 million metric tons the year prior. The last time the country banned the export of bauxite ore in 2014, buyers simply bought more ore from neighboring Malaysia.

Bauxite was first discovered in the country in 1924, with first production commencing in the next decade. Indonesia is estimated to hold bauxite reserves totaling 1.2 billion metric tons, most of which exists in the form of laterite ores.