Key Indonesian mining policy maker ill after mountaineering accident

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2012 4:15 AM

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's vice minister for energy and minerals, a key policy maker in the government's drive to tighten mining regulations, was in critical condition on Saturday after a mountaineering accident, officials said.

Widjajono Partowidagdo is a central player in a government decision expected soon on whether to impose a 25 percent tax on mining exports this year and a 50 percent tax in 2013.

He was climbing Mount Tambora on Sumbawa island in eastern Indonesia when the incident happened on Saturday, a senior government official said. Local media reported he would be flown to a hospital in Bali for treatment.

"We are trying our best to evacuate him," Energy and Minerals Minister Jero Wacik told Reuters. Fog was hampering the evacuation team's efforts to reach the location, said Surono, head of the country's vulcanology centre.

A series of mining and minerals regulations announced this year have rattled investors in the country, which is the world's top exporter of thermal coal and refined tin and has a big minerals sector.

The regulations include a plan under which some foreign mining companies must divest 51 percent within 10 years and a proposed ban on the export of some unprocessed metals by 2014.

(Writing by Karima Anjani; Editing by Matthew Bigg and Sanjeev Miglani)