Friday, 13 April 2012 00:00
from the Press... - Jakarta Globe
S&P Cautions Against New Indonesian Mining Regulations
Muhamad Al Azhari | April 13, 2012
Investors may have expressed concerns about looming new mining regulations, but ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says it doubts the government will implement them strictly.
“Whether the government of Indonesia will follow up on its hard-line stance is still a question,” the ratings agency said in its latest report on mining.
However, S&P added that “our ratings on mining companies operating in Indonesia have long factored in the country’s evolving regulations. Therefore, our credit outlook on the sector remains stable.”
The government this year issued a series of controversial mining regulations, including plans for an ore export ban, higher royalties, a ceiling on foreign ownership of mining assets, a required upgrade in coal quality before export and so-called “contract of work” renegotiations.
“Not a week has passed without government officials calling for additional royalties, a review of ownership rules or a more equal redistribution of mineral wealth,” S&P said in the report.
Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat was on Thursday quoted by Reuters reiterating an earlier statement by his ministry that the government is studying a 25 percent tax on mining exports this year that will become a 50 percent tax in 2013.
S&P said that if the move is strictly implemented, it “would undeniably hurt Indonesian mining companies as well as international companies that have mining operations in Indonesia. It would raise the cost of doing business in the sector and lessen its attractiveness to investors.”
The ratings agency said that it believed “the government of Indonesia will take a pragmatic approach while implementing mining regulations, given the sector’s economic importance.”
Last year, the government received $6.5 billion in taxes and royalties from mining companies, constituting 5 percent of total government revenue.
Dileep Srivastava, the investor relations director at large coal miner Bumi Resources, expressed concern about the tax.
“If this is enacted, some of our metals and minor coal assets may be vulnerable,” he said.
“But it is premature to form any view yet.”
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