Coal exports can still exceed 150 million tons this year due to higher supply, despite fears that the government may curb exports to protect domestic demand, a senior industry figure said Tuesday (8/1/08), Reuters reported.
Record high prices have prompted producers to boost output in 2008 and new coal producers to speed up construction of their mines, said Soedjoko Tirtosoekotjo, executive director of the Indonesia Coal Mining Association.
"Producers are preparing to raise output to benefit from price gains," Tirtosoekotjo said.
Output from Indonesia, the world's top thermal coal exporter, is expected to reach 234 million tons this year while domestic demand could reach 55 million tons, leaving the remainder for exports, the association said in December.
Indonesia produced an estimated 215 million tons in 2007, up from 193 million tons in 2006.
It exported an estimated 165 million tons of coal in 2007, up from 145 million tons in 2006.
Export growth may slow in coming years as the government plans to limit them to a maximum of 150 million tons, starting in 2009, in order to meet surging demand from domestic buyers, producers said.
"But the government has said the 150 million tons limit is not fixed. If domestic demand is fulfilled, the remaining can be exported," Tirtosoekotjo said.