Over the last decade, Indonesian coal production has risen dramatically. The country is now one of the world’s largest exporters of coal, and the largest exporter of steam coal.
This expansion comes at a time of transition for the international coal industry. Renewable energy costs are becoming competitive with coal-based electricity, the international community is ramping up ambition to tackle climate change, and financial institutions (especially international banks and pension funds) are showing a weakening appetite for coal assets.
This paper explores the deep intertwining of coal mining within Indonesia’s political landscape. It highlights how coal production and exports fit into a very complex social, financial and political ecosystem. This system has allowed and encouraged a large, rapid expansion in coal production, and despite recent changes and announcements, there are no clear signs of this changing any time soon.