Indonesia is prepared to literally dig its way out of its fiscal problems, aiming to increase production of all its key mining products, including gold, copper and nickel, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro told legislators on Monday.
The resource-rich country plans to ramp up gold production by nearly 70 percent, from 58.83 tons in 2008 to 99.34 tons this year, as rising prices boost production and revenue. Copper output is expected to rise by nearly 40 percent, from more than 597,000 tons in 2008 to more than 826,000 tons in 2009.
“We will increase production of all minerals this year,” Purnomo told the House of Representatives’ Commission VII. “We aim to produce as much as 96,000 carats of diamonds, up from 27,668 carats last year.”
However, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, director of coal and mineral resources at the ministry, said that while production targets were set by mining firms, they remained open to amendment.
“We will have to see their first quarter reports first,” he said. “For tin production, the government must see how much the global market can absorb.”
Bambang said the high gold price was a key driver for increasing gold production, adding that the cost of copper production also remained economically feasible.
The government expects tin production of 105,000 tons, a rise of more than 45 percent from last year’s 71,610 tons. Slow global demand cut tin production in 2008 from an initial 100,000 ton goal.
Purnomo said nickel in matte output is expected to rise to 86,180 tons in 2009 from 73,360 tons last year, and the ministry is sticking to it original target of 230 million tons of coal this year, slightly up from 229.18 million last year.