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Indonesian miners lay off workers as ore ban approaches

Published on Jan 9, 2014 8:36 PM
A general view of a coal mine in Samarinda, East Kalimantan. --PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Thousands of mine workers in Indonesia have already been laid off as more than 100 junior miners halt operations anticipating a ban on unprocessed ore exports starting Sunday, a sign the rule is already hurting Southeast Asia's largest economy.

Indonesia is the world's top exporter of nickel ore, refined tin and thermal coal, and is also a major producer of copper, iron ore and bauxite, but wants to shift from being a supplier of raw materials into a producer of finished goods in efforts to become a leading global economy by 2025.

The country hopes to generate greater revenue from its resources by pushing the mining industry to develop downstream processing industries, but a lack of infrastructure, low commodity prices and poor coordination within the flourishing sector means many producers will be forced to close before they can meet the new processing requirements.

"Our members have laid off almost 30,000 workers," Poltak Sitanggang, chairman of the Indonesian Mineral Entrepreneurs Association (APEMINDO), one of Indonesia's biggest associations of junior miners told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

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