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Indonesia hopes to issue concentrate export permits by March

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia does not expect to approve any export permits for mineral concentrates until next month at the earliest, a senior government official said on Monday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono imposed a controversial mining law on Jan 12, which included a ban on unprocessed ore shipments and an export tax on concentrates. All exports have ground to a halt since the new regulation was introduced.

"Hopefully this March we will be ready to issue export recommendations," Hersonyo Prio Wibowo, deputy director for mineral production supervision told Reuters by text. "Six companies have now applied for recommendation letters."

In order to export, mineral exporters must first receive a recommendation letter from the mines ministry, before then applying to the trade ministry to become a registered exporter.