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Indonesia gives tin miner PT Timah nod to resume exports

[JAKARTA] Indonesia's PT Timah, the country's top tin miner, has been granted government clearance to resume exports and will look to make its first shipment by early September, company and government officials said on Friday.

State-owned PT Timah halted exports when new rules for shipments were introduced on Aug 1, and like other tin miners in the world's top exporter, has been embroiled in government red-tape ever since. "It's done for the next six months," Didi Sumedi, director of export industry and mining products at the trade ministry told Reuters when asked whether Timah had received an export permit.

No other tin companies had been granted an export permit, he said.

Earlier this week, a senior official at Timah said some exports would likely restart by "early September" but that prices would have to rise above US$17,000 a tonne for spot sales to resume.

Timah's Corporate Secretary Agung Nugroho repeated this to Reuters on Friday, adding that the company would now look to trade 100-200 tonnes on the Indonesia Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (ICDX) on Monday.

Indonesia is tightening its rules for tin shipments in a fresh bid to crack down on environmental damage and smuggling, and to enforce payment of royalties and taxes on shipments.

Benchmark London tin traded at about US$14,890 a tonne on Friday, having fallen about 20 per cent this year.

The Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan, which runs one of the biggest copper mines in the province of Papua, has also halted its exports, as it adapts to new rules on using letters of credit from domestic banks.

Freeport is working with the Indonesian government and related parties so that exports can resume immediately, a spokesman said on Thursday.