Indonesia's Antam receives approval for additional nickel ore exports

Indonesia's PT Aneka Tambang Tbk (Antam) received a recommendation from the mining ministry for an additional 1.25 million tonnes of nickel ore exports over the next 12 months, Chief Executive Arie Prabowo Ariotedjo said on Tuesday.

State-controlled Antam planned to increase its nickel ore output this year after a three-year ban on raw mineral exports was lifted in January.

As of September, the company had exported 1.9 million tonnes of the metal ore, from an existing 2.7 million tonnes allocation awarded in April, Ariotedjo said.

"Demand is good (and) prices are high," he said, noting that the ore had been sold to buyers in China.

The additional allocation was based on progress the company has made on a smelter it has started to develop with Indonesian construction company Wijaya Karya and Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries, in East Halmahera in the province of North Maluku, Ariotedjo told reporters.

"It's progress has almost reached 20 percent," he said.

Antam is targeting exports of 2.7 million tonnes of nickel ore this year, while its sales of ferronickel this year are expected to reach 22,300 tonnes, up from 20,000 tonnes in 2016, he added.

Separately, Ariotedjo said Antam had exported 600,000 tonnes of bauxite as of September, from an allocated quota of 850,000 tonnes.

(Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Christian Schmollinger)