Indonesia’s Supreme Court has reportedly upheld a challenge to the Government’s ban on the export of unprocessed minerals and ore by striking down four articles of the Decree of the Minister of Minerals and Energy Resources No 7 of 2012 on Increasing Mineral Value Added through Refining and Smelting (MERM 7).

It has been reported that the verdict was handed down on 12 September 2012 but to date the written decision has not been released by the Supreme Court. The case arose from a legal challenge filed by the Nickel Association and the All-Indonesia Association of District-Level Governments. The Supreme Court reportedly rescinded Article 21 of MEMR 7 which prohibited holders of mining permits from exporting unprocessed minerals and ore abroad. 

The Supreme Court’s decision does not appear to have overturned the provisions of higher ranking laws and regulations which require the holders of mining permits to process their products in country, being the 2009 Mining Law and Government Regulation 23 of 2010 on the Implementation of Mineral and Coal Mining Activities and as such this decision is likely to be of limited impact in the longer term. 

Further analysis of the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s decision will however have to await the issuance of the written judgment.