Indonesia will ban exports of bauxite next year, President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday, in his latest move to boost domestic processing industries.
The country was in 2020 the world's fifth biggest producer of bauxite – which is used in making aluminium – with close to 21 million tonnes, according to the US geological survey. Most of the exports went to China.
"Starting in June 2023, the government will impose a ban on bauxite ore exports and boost the domestic bauxite processing and refining industries," Widodo told journalists.
He said the government aimed to replicate the development of nickel processing in the archipelago after it stopped exports of the raw mineral in 2020.
Since then, the resource-rich country has drawn investments mostly from China to build smelters.
"The government continues to bolster domestic processing of the natural resources. Exports of raw materials will continue to be reduced, as natural resource-based downstream industries will continue to be boosted," he said.
Indonesia, once the world's biggest exporter of nickel ore, is locked in a trade dispute with the European Union over the export ban on the key mineral, which is used to make batteries for electric vehicles, stainless steel and mobile phones.
The Southeast Asian country has also been criticised for its protectionist measures aimed at prioritising supply and price stability domestically. Earlier this year, it temporarily prohibited shipments of coal and palm oil.