Indonesia will allow mining production plans to stay valid for three years with immediate effect, according to rules made public on Thursday, as it looks to beef up efficiency in quota approvals.
The move comes as nickel smelter operators, battling surging ore prices, had to import nickel ore from the Philippines in recent months, as Indonesian miners exhausted production quotas.
Such output plans issued by the Southeast Asian nation, domestically referred to as RKAB, determine how much ore miners may dig out over a period of time, which was formerly a year.
The new rules allow miners to seek revisions to their production plans once a year.
Last month, Indonesian officials said an investigation of illegal mining activities had prompted the government to return to an older approval procedure, causing delays in quota approvals.
Later that month, Arifin Tasrif, the mineral resources minister, told parliament the ministry was upgrading its online application system to speed approvals.
This week, a senior official overseeing mining said nickel miners would be able to use a new quota application system from October, with applications to be sent in from November.
(By Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Clarence Fernandez)