New government policy breakthrough for Indonesia's minerals exploration industry?

INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT POLICY may be shifting towards an understanding of the special conditions of the minerals exploration sector, according to incorporated industry organisation Asosiasi Forum Eksplorasi Mineral dan Pengembangan Indonesia - Indonesian Forum for Mineral Exploration and Development Association (EMD).

The Association has released details of a series of meetings held in Jakarta between EMD (represented by its Chairman Myke Jones, former Chairman Malcolm Baillie and Commissioner Lobo Balia) and senior officials of the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) including Minister Sudirman Said.

“The outcome of these meetings was the recognition by the government that a junior exploration industry is vital and essential for the future of the mining industry in Indonesia. Furthermore, it was acknowledged that without a junior exploration industry, it was unlikely that any new resources and reserves will be found, with the end result of no new mines in Indonesia.

“As a consequence of this realisation, EMD has been requested to provide a submission to the government, detailing the changes that are necessary to: attract, manage and sustain a junior exploration Industry,” EMD announced in a statement.

Dewi J Putriatni, Director of ESDM East Java, and Chairman of the Provincial Energy
& Mining Association, addressing an EMD seminar on licensing issues

EMD commenced a research process in mid-2014, initiated by then Chairman Geoffrey Gold, to document for government the importance of “high-risk, low-impact” minerals exploration to national minerals and energy policy, and particularly to ensure a future projects pipeline.

“Generating confidence in government for opinions from the private sector, including the expertise of foreign investors, takes time and commitment. I first wrote to incoming Minister Said in November 2014 outlining EMD's program and it is a credit to the current board that the Association’s detailing of the experiences of the exploration sector, quite distinct from the exploitation and mining process, has been so well-received and considered by policy-makers,” Mr Gold said.

EMD’s next step will be to expand its white paper submission - “Towards a Positive Exploration Environment in Indonesia”  - to encompass requests from the government. A forum will be convened shortly to “harvest input from all members and industry contacts.”

EMD officials have since met with PERHAPI Chairman Tino Ardhyanto to strengthen the Association’s relationship with Indonesia’s professional mining institute and to discuss a joint submission to government.

“This is a watershed moment and an opportunity to get the exploration industry recognised in its own right and to kick start exploration in Indonesia … Let’s all be encouraged by these recent events and look forward to some positive changes for our industry,” Mr Jones commented.

See also: Minerals exploration difficulties will hold back Indonesian economy – new mining group warns (25 March 2011)