Singapore's Ibris Nickel stops Indonesia ore mining ahead of export ban

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Singapore's Ibris Nickel said on Tuesday it had temporarily stopped operations at its 2-million-tonne-per-year nickel mine in Indonesia, amid uncertainty surrounding a planned ban on unprocessed metal ore exports.

It is the first company to announce it is putting operations on hold pending the ban.

Almost all miners are taking a "wait-and-see" approach to the ore ban, Chief Operating Officer Agus Suhartono told Reuters, adding that the government had not provided any clarification of planned new processing requirements due to take effect on Sunday.

"If we are in production but we don't know how this will pan out, we need to be very careful," Suhartono said. "It's a last-minute call."

Ibris, the third-largest nickel miner in Indonesia, employs around 1,400 workers at its mine in North Konawe, Southeast Sulawesi, but all had stopped work since December 31, 2013, because of contractual commitments, he said.

All of its Ibris Nickel ore production is exported.