Indonesia has announced that it would ban exports of nickel from the country from 1 January 2020 next year. The ban, under Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Regulation No. 5 of 2017 as amended by No. 28 of 2017 on Increase of  Mineral Value Added through Processing and Refining Activities in Domestic (“Regulation 5”), brings forward an earlier planned measure that was only to be implemented in 2022.  This export ban will apply to all different types of nickel, rather than just nickel ore with certain percentages. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, in charge of mineral and coal in Indonesia, has told reporters that the ban was for the purposes of expediting the smelter building in Indonesia.

The amendment to bring forward the ban has been signed by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan. It is expected to be cleared by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights before being fully implemented.

Indonesia generally does not impose export controls on dual-use goods, and is not a member to the Wassenaar Arrangement. However, it does regulate the export of certain specified products, whereby varying degrees of regulation are applied (for e.g. restricted and prohibited exports). For example, export of bauxite can only be done by company that has a specific license (i.e., the bauxite production operation business license) with certain value content (≥ 42%) and certain amounts under Regulation 5, provided that the company already has or has been establishing a refining smelter. Other prohibited exports of mining products currently include tin ore and concentrates, arsenic ash and residue, and metals or other compounds that contain tin or precious stones. Certain restrictions are also applied on exports of iron scraps and residue, stainless steel, copper, brass, and aluminum.


Riza F. Buditomo is a partner in Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners' Tax & Trade Group in Jakarta. He focuses on corporate commercial and tax, and trade matters including export/import, customs, supply chain, food industry, direct-selling, anti-dumping, and corporate commercial work.


Nandina Kusumaningrum is a Trade Specialist in Hadiputranto, Hadinoto & Partners' Tax & Trade Group in Jakarta.