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Philippine nickel miners to boost ore output after Indonesia bans shipments

Christian Fernsby |
Philippine nickel miners are expected to boost ore production next year when Indonesia bans exports of the raw material used in stainless steel and batteries, the head of the local nickel miners' lobby group told Reuters on Monday.

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"This supposed export ban from Indonesia will boost production from the local miners, particularly next year once it takes effect simultaneous with the start of the mining season," Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, said.

Indonesian ore was generally of a higher grade than ore from the Philippines, he noted.

"However, Chinese smelters have been able to process our lower grade ores, so supply of lower grade ores coming from the Philippines is not an issue," said Bravo, who is also president of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc , the Philippines' No. 2 nickel ore producer and exporter.

Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said he has signed a new regulation on banning ore exports, according to a voice recording verified by a ministry spokesman, sending nickel prices soaring on Friday.

Nickel prices in Shanghai hit a record high on Monday, while they jumped to a five-year high in London following Indonesia's move.

Jonan, speaking to journalists in Yogyakarta, said nickel ore exports will be allowed until end-December.

Bravo did not give any estimate on Philippine ore output and shipments next year, but he said Indonesia's policy move will pave the way for increased sales of lower-grade 1.2%, 1.3% and 1.4% nickel ores.

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