JAKARTA, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Indonesia has granted permission for two commodity companies in the country to restart exports of nickel ore as they have made progress on smelter projects, a government spokesman said on Tuesday. Indonesia grants mineral ore export permits to firms building smelters and reviews their construction progress every six months. The Southeast Asian nation has large nickel laterite ore reserves, prized for nickel pig iron used in stainless steel production and also attractive to producers of battery materials. The mining ministry in August revoked export permits for a combined 4,222,119 tonnes of nickel ore shipments from PT Surya Saga Utama, PT Modern Cahaya Makmur and PT Integra Mining Nusantara, citing zero progress on their smelter developments. Modern Cahaya and Integra had “fulfilled conditions” after applying for renewals of their permits, so “they can export again”, mining ministry spokesman Agung Pribadi told reporters. He added that the two had held permission to resume exports “since November”. Export permits for two other companies, PT Surya Saga Utama and PT Lobindo Nusa Persada, had expired and not been renewed, Pribadi said. Throughout 2017, Indonesia issued permits to export more than 22 million tonnes of nickel ore and nearly 15 million tonnes of bauxite, the main ore for aluminium. Permits typically stand for one year and companies are allowed to renew them. Under current rules, no unprocessed ore exports will be allowed after January 2022.