Speakers at last week’s 3rd Annual Indonesia Mining conference in Bali came up with several illuminating quotes to describe the difficult mining situation in the country. Some of Hotline’s favourites are below:

“Charles Darwin thought of Indonesia when he wrote that ‘it's not the strongest that survive, not the most intelligent, it's the most adaptable to change’”’ said Michael Kiernan, president director of manganese miner PT Asia Mangan Group, a 40-year veteran of the Indonesian mining scene.
He also told the delegates that, over the past two years, some 49 laws, regulations, directives, decrees and policy changes have been introduced for mining making his five in-house solicitors “as important to me as my wife!”

Kiernan’s other piece of advice for potential operators and investors in Indonesia was: “[There are] three rules to survive in Indonesia: Rule One patience, Rule Two patience and Rule Three pay attention to Rules One and Two.”

Other delegates also tried their hand at pithy aphorisms to describe how they felt. “The Indonesian government looks at mining as a goose laying golden eggs – hence its regulations such as the progressive export tax,” one delegate said.

But perhaps the most heartfelt and bitterest comment from a delegate was: “In life, only death and taxes are certain but in Indonesia even taxes are uncertain – as they may change.”