Amahl S. Azwar, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali | Business | Tue, June 04 2013, 11:31 AM
Plans to divert the export of coal from China to other countries like India, Japan and South Korea are afoot after China says it is considering a ban.
China is reportedly considering the outlaw of imports of some grades of lower calorific value coal because these types of coal create high pollution. China’s decision, if implemented, would hurt Indonesia’s coal producers.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said in Bali on Monday that the government would increase coal exports to other countries, look for new markets and encourage domestic consumption.
“Every country has the right to make policies that protect their [national] interests. They [China] are not our sole market,” he said on the sidelines of the 19th CoalTrans Asia conference at the Bali International Convention Center
in Nusa Dua, Bali.
He added that his office would increase the capacity of domestic coal consumers, including Indonesia’s state-owned electricity firm PT PLN, through its policies.
Speaking at the same event, ICMA executive director Supriatna Suhala said India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam could be potential markets for Indonesian coal to address the surplus 45 million tons of coal should China go ahead with its import ban.
Supriatna said India, which consumed 90 million tons of Indonesian thermal coal last year, would need more coal to feed its power plants to be built in the future.
Last year, China imported 90 million tons of thermal coal from Indonesia; almost 30 percent of the latter’s exported coal. Half of the 90 million tons were lower-rank coal.
With consumption of 3.4 billion tons of coal last year, China had to import 200 million tons to complement its own production of 3.2 billion tons.
Outdoor air pollution in China has bit a worrying level that contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, according to a scientific study first presented in December in The Lancet, a British medical journal.
According to the study on leading causes of death worldwide, the figure contributed 40 percent to the global total.