Luhut’s Ministry, KPK to Conclude Illegal Nickel Export Case Soon

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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – The Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs gave an update about the case of illegal exports of 5.3 million tons of nickel ore to China. The ministry’s deputy for investment and mining coordination, Septian Hario Seto, said the results of the ministry’s research and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) would soon be concluded.

“By next week it looks like the results of the research have been completed,” he said when contacted by Tempo on Tuesday, August 8.

He also denied reports that Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan had reported the names of several illegal nickel exporters. According to him, the ministry and the KPK are still studying the information about this case.

Previously, Luhut said KPK chairman Firli Bahuri had reported the case to him. Luhut claimed he was already aware of it and asked the KPK to investigate the actors.

Luhut said that with digitalization nothing is untraceable. A maritime task force, he said, had also been formed considering smuggling is prone to occur in a maritime country like Indonesia.

The KPK estimated that state losses from illegal nickel ore exports is at least more than Rp500 billion from the loss of royalties and income tax from nickel mining companies. However, the KPK did not mention in detail the origins of the nickel ores illegally exported to China.

Last month, the director of the Center of Energy and Resources Indonesia (CERI) Yusri Usman said that he suspected the nickel ores being exported came from mines in either Sulawesi or North Maluku.

“From Indonesia. I’m not saying IWIP [Indonesia Weda Bay Industrial Park], but of course they are from Sulawesi and North Maluku, because these are the only two regions that are the biggest nickel producers,” Yusri told Tempo on Saturday, July 1.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Customs and Excise recorded that in 2020 the volume of nickel ore imports from Indonesia amounted to 3.4 billion kilograms with a value of US$193 million. In 2021, China will imported 839 million kilograms of nickel ore from Indonesia worth US$48 million. Then in 2022 China imported 1 billion kilograms of nickel ores.


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