ICMA WEBSITES – EDITORIAL (11 AUGUST 2020)
High Hopes on the New Director General of Mineral and Coal
After more than 6 months of the selection process, finally the Director General (DG) of Mineral and Coal post is filled. On Monday August the 10th of 2020, Dr. Ridwan Djamaluddin swore in as the New Director General. In the internal event exclusively for the ministry officials to avoid crowd gatherings, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif inaugurate 4 new senior officials at the ministry that include new Director of Technical and Environmental at the Directorate General of Mineral and Coal (DGMC) Dr. Lana Saria. The appointment of the New DG in times of the Pandemic Covid-19 presents a huge challenge for Ridwan Djamaluddin who previously held a deputy position overseeing infrastructure and transportation at the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment.
During the selection process, many predicted Ridwan Djamaluddin to get the prestigious job. The engineer who graduated from Geological Department of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) is seen as a very competent candidate for the job. He is known as very committed to boost the investment and prefer to work in collaborative way which he has shown during his tenure at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment. He posses practically almost all qualifications required for that strategic post to lead the country’s mineral and coal sector for the benefits of the nation. Having the precious experience as the Coordinating Ministry deputy is considered as the huge advantage of Ridwan Djamaluddin over other candidates. In addition, the geologist is also chairing the ITB’s alumni association, a prestigious position, where in the past even senior active minister wanted the chairmanship position. The former deputy at The Technology Application and Assesment Agency (BPPT), received his master degree from University of Twenty the Netherland and his doctorate degree from the Texas A&M University.
With the above qualifications, industry has their high hopes on the new DG. The coal and mineral industry is struggling to deal with the severe impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Coal Reference Price (HBA) of August hit the US$ 50 mark, the lowest level in the decade. The commodity price has been in the trend of declining practically before the outbreak. The indexes had been in the trend of declining since August 2018 mainly due to the weak global economy exacerbated by the rising trade tension between the US and China. The covid-19 pushes the global thermal coal demand to the historical level the industry has seen in the decades. Coal miners are in the survival mode, trying to keep the business or at least not to layoff their workers and still fulflil the companies’s obligations to the state regional government and to the community amidst the weak demand both overseas and domestic.
The new DG is facing a very tough situation ahead to lead the mineral and coal sector to survive in this era. The government is expected to issue policy and regulatory relaxations to help the industry while ensuring the flow of revenues to the state is intact. With the deadline for the drafting of the draft of implementing regulations of the New Mineral and Coal Law, the new DG should act and move quickly to lead the process. Meanwhile, safeguarding the ongoing judicial review of the Law in the Constitutional Court should not be overlooked. And, one of the urgent tasks faced by the new DG is to ensure the conversion of Coal Contract of Work (CcoW) to become Special Mining Business Permit (IUPK) going smoothly in accordance to applicable laws and regulations. Therefore the industry has high hopes that under the leadership of Ridwan Djamaluddin with the assistance from his directors and key staffs at the Directorate and of course with the guidance from Arifin Tasrif and his senior staffs at the Ministry, mineral and coal industry will continue to contribute to the national development, energy security as well as the community.