Australian miners with operations in Indonesia are still scrambling to understand the full impact of the Asian nation's new ban on exports of some raw minerals.

While Newcrest Mining and other gold and copper miners are likely to escape the new bans thanks to exclusions granted on those metals by the Indonesian government, many Australian coal companies, including BHP Billiton, may be subject to the changes, introduced on Sunday.

BHP's Indomet, in the forests of Borneo, has yet to start producing coal. While exports from Indomet are still some time away, the company said on Wednesday it was still assessing the impact of the ban.

BHP's enthusiasm for new coal projects has waned since prices started to fall 18 months ago, and it appears to be in no rush to turn Indomet into a large mine anyway.

''The focus for the project, at this stage, is developing the infrastructure, particularly the construction of roads and port loading facilities, and we continue to evaluate the potential for larger-scale developments in the region,'' the company said in a statement.

Other Australian miners with projects in Indonesia include Orpheus Energy, Indo Mines, Cokal Limited and Hillgrove Resources, and many of those who spoke to Fairfax Media indicated they did not yet understand the ban's impact.

Hillgrove Resources boss Greg Hall said he and chief financial officer Russell Middleton would get an update on the situation when they travel to Indonesia on Monday.

Indonesian officials had Australian miners in a similar state of confusion exactly two years ago, when mining laws changed to force foreign miners to divest their stakes in Indonesian projects to 49 per cent.

Foreign ownership restrictions proved much more lenient than first indicated, but most foreign miners now work with local joint venture partners.

Australian mining entrepreneur Owen Hegarty is on the board of Hong Kong-listed G-Resources which runs the Martabe gold and silver mine in Indonesia.

Mr Hegarty said companies would eventually negotiate more acceptable conditions than the initial ban would suggest.

''There's no question in my mind that pragmatic negotiation [will be possible] at the department level, at the industry level and at the political level,'' he said. ''They will get there because you have such big companies there, lots of government interests, private interests involved here. There will be a practical way through it.''