Freeport and Newmont Still in Talks as Indonesia Grants Permits

Feb 20, 2014 4:47 pm ET

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Newmont Mining Corp. and Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said they are still in talks with the government about resuming copper exports after the country granted approval for nine other companies.

Newmont’s PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara unit plans to restart exports of copper concentrate this quarter and will gain access to higher-grade ore later this year, Omar Jabara, a spokesman for the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company, said in an e- mail yesterday.

Freeport is working with the government to seek a resolution, Eric Kinneberg, a spokesman for the Phoenix-based company, said in an e-mail. Freeport operates the Grasberg mine in Papua province. Newmont operates the Batu Hijau mine on Sumbawa island.

Indonesia last month banned the exports of unprocessed ore and placed duties on shipments of copper concentrates, a semi- processed raw material. The move is part of a wider policy to boost revenue by turning the country into a manufacturer of higher-value products. The curbs halted copper-concentrate shipments by Freeport and Newmont.

The government said in a statement yesterday it approved mineral-export permits for: PT Aneka Persero Tambang Tbk; PT Vale Indonesia Tbk; PT J. Resources Bolaang Mongondow; PT Indoferro; PT Anugerah Nusantara Sejahtera; PT Long Xin Group Resources; PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals; PT Smelting; and PT Global Multi Tambang.

PT Smelting, Indonesia’s only copper smelter, processes 40 percent of Grasberg’s concentrate, according to the U.S. company. Freeport’s Indonesian unit has a 25 percent stake in PT Smelting.

--With assistance from Eko Listiyorini in Jakarta. Editors: Will Wade, Tina Davis