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Only three Indonesian tin firms meet new export rules: industry

[JAKARTA] Only three Indonesian tin companies have so far met new export rules to be introduced at the start of November, an industry group said on Thursday, likely again curtailing shipments by the world's top tin exporter.

Indonesia halted tin exports in August due to rules aimed at cracking down on environmental damage and smuggling, as well as enforcing royalty and tax payments, but smelters ramped up exports in September ahead of the latest changes.

Benchmark tin prices have so far failed to react to the stop-start exports, and are down 21 per cent this year amid a broad downturn in demand growth for metals.

From Nov 1, all exporters of tin from Indonesia, which had about 22 registered tin sellers earlier this year, must obtain so-called "clean and clear" (CnC) certification. "Three companies," Jabin Sufianto, president of the Indonesian Association of Tin Exporters said in a text when asked how many companies would be able to export from next month.

Sufianto said the company he works for, PT Eunindo Usaha Mandiri, was among those that had achieved CnC clearance, while privately owned Refined Bangka Tin said it was also CnC ready.

The country's top tin miner PT Timah had so far achieved CnC clearance for "more than 50 per cent" of its concession areas, Corporate Secretary Agung Nugroho said.

Earlier this month, Nugroho said Timah expected to achieve CnC clearance for all its concession areas before Nov 1.

A Singapore-based trader said Indonesian producers had shipped material into private storage in Singapore ahead of the latest rules, limiting any price impact.

Indonesia introduced the first set of new rules for shipments from Aug 1, which resulted in no shipments throughout August as companies awaited export approval from the central government.

In order to get CnC certification, a tin producer must prove to government that its activities do not encroach into other mining concession areas, that it uses environmentally friendly and sustainable mining practices, and that no taxes and royalties are outstanding.

The Southeast Asian country is concerned about the scale of illegal tin mining and smuggling, while green groups and electronics firms have expressed worries about environmental damage.

Before cutting short his trip to the United States this week, President Joko Widodo had planned to visit tech giant Apple's headquarters and meet with CEO Tim Cook to discuss investment in Indonesia's tin industry.

Indonesia's tin exports are expected at 50,000-60,000 tonnes next year, according to industry estimates, compared with "below 65,000 tonnes" in 2015.