Indonesian coal production reached 213 million tons in the first half of 2014, a 7.6 percentage point growth from the same period in the previous year (198 million tons), as coal miners have been boosting coal output amid sluggish international coal prices. Approximately 75 percent of this output (158 million tons) was exported abroad. Indonesia is the world’s largest thermal coal producer and exporter. The country’s coal primarily consists of the medium-quality type (between 5100 and 6100 cal/gram) and the low-quality type (below 5100 cal/gram).
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Indonesian state-owned electricity firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) said that Indonesia - Southeast Asia's largest economy - is expected to nearly double domestic consumption of thermal coal over the next eight years in an attempt to meet the nation's growing electricity demand. Moreover, coal, of which the country has huge reserves at its disposal, is regarded a better fuel source in electricity generation compared to expensive diesel. At present, many power stations in Indonesia are still diesel-powered.
An official at Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources stated that the production of coal in the first four months of 2014 grew five percent (year-on-year) to 147 million tons. As such, the country is still on track to meet this year's coal production target of 426 million tons. Exports of Indonesian coal totaled 109 million tons in the January-April 2014 period, while the remainder (38 million tons) was sold on the domestic market. Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of coal.
Indonesia Investments updated the company profile of Bumi Resources, a leading Indonesian natural resources group focused primarily on coal mining. The company is Indonesia's largest coal miner by production volume and the world's largest thermal coal exporter. However, due to weak global demand and weak corporate management, the company is at risk of default in the near future due to maturity of its debts. Moody’s has downgraded Bumi’s corporate rating from Caa1 to Ca.
Indonesia Investments has updated the company profile of Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam. This state controlled company is one of the largest coal mining companies in Indonesia and has vast coal mines in South Sumatra, West Sumatra and East Kalimantan. The company feels the impact of global economic turmoil as can be seen from the 44.2 percent fall in net income over the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. A weakening coal price in combination with higher costs of sales were the underlying reasons.
In order to increase government revenues, the Indonesian government announced that, starting from 2014, coal miners that have a Mining Business License (Izin Usaha Pertambangan/IUP) will have to pay a higher royalty fee to the central government. The decision was made during a meeting between the government and Commission XI of the House of Representatives (DPR) this week. The new royalty policy, which was originally planned to be introduced this year, is expected to result in an increase of IDR 4 trillion (USD $408.2 million) in state revenues.
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Concerns have arisen over the government's plan to increase royalties and export duties for coal. The Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI) expects that this policy will lead to the closure of various coal miners while increasing acts of illegal mining. According to Bob Kamandanu, chairman of the APBI, 60 million tons of coal per year is not listed by any authority and thus can be labeled 'illegal'. Illegal coal mining also implies that the Indonesian government misses out on about IDR 5.6 trillion (USD $495.6 million) per year.
The chairman of the Indonesia Coal Mining Association said that Indonesia's coal exports are expected to increase from 310 million tons in 2012 to 330 million tons in 2013, a 6.5 percent increase. Coal producers have been facing a tough period since July 2008 when global coal demand weakened and triggered volatile - but mostly declining - coal prices ever since. Coal demand from China and India, however, is expected to increase this year.
Yesterday it was announced that the Bakrie Group, one of Indonesia's most controversial and richest conglomerates, has signed a heads of terms agreement that sets out conditions for the Bakrie's withdrawal from London-listed coal miner Bumi Plc. Bumi Plc, having the largest coal deposits in Indonesia at its disposal, was established in 2010 by British financier Nathaniel Rothschild and the Bakrie Group to bring coal assets to European investors.
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