Philippines Calls on Indonesia to End Coal Ban

Manila warns of a 'detrimental' effect.
Photo/s: Shutterstock

The Philippines has urged Indonesia to lift its recent ban on coal exports, with Manila warning Monday the policy will have a "detrimental" impact on the coal-reliant country.

Indonesia, the world's biggest exporter of coal used to generate electricity, this month stopped fossil fuel shipments to secure its domestic power supply.

The Philippines imports about 70% of its coal supply and nearly 97% of that comes from Indonesia, official data show. Most of the coal is used for power generation.

Jakarta's ban on January coal exports would be "detrimental" to countries like the Philippines that rely on coal-fired power, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a letter to his Indonesian counterpart last Thursday, according to a Department of Energy statement on Monday.

"Power generated from coal comprises about 60%  of the country's power demand," Cusi added.

Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin has been enlisted to appeal against Indonesia's decision via the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the statement said.

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Japan has also issued a similar appeal to Indonesia.

Indonesia's export ban was imposed after coal miners failed to meet their obligation to set aside 25% of output for the domestic market.

That sent global prices of coal higher as the northern hemisphere's winter demand for energy peaks.

Last year the Philippines imported 2.3 million metric tons of coal a month from Indonesia, Cusi said.

"We're not after the entire production of Indonesia. What we just want to get is what we are already getting," said Department of Energy spokesman William Fuentebella.

It is not clear if the grade of coal purchased by the Philippines is the same as that burned by Indonesia's power stations.

The Philippines Department of Energy will meet with the country's coal-fired power plant operators this week, officials said.

READ: Philippines to Speed Up Shift to Clean Energy From Coal

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