Indonesia to grant export permit to Freeport in West Papua

Freeport McMoRan's Grasberg mine in West Papua. Image:

By Gareth Tredway

The Indonesian government’s mining ministry is said to have recommended the granting of a new short-term export permit to Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg mine in West Papua.

Freeport’s local subsidiary is required to apply for renewal of export permits at six-month intervals.

In February 2016, an export permit was renewed by the trade ministry through August 8, 2016.

Reuters cited Bambang Gatot, Director-General of Coal and Minerals, within the mining ministry, as saying the latest renewal would run for less than six months until January 11, but did not explain why.

The company is still in discussions with government to obtain an extension of its long-term rights under its original contract-of-work agreement as it looks to extend operations beyond 2021.

It has agreed to construct new smelter capacity in Indonesia and to divest an additional 20.64 percent interest in PT Freeport Indonesia at fair market value.

The Indonesian government continues to impose a 5 percent export duty while it reviews the company’s smelter plans.

In the six months to end-June, Grasberg produced 169,000 tonnes of copper and 336,000 ounces of gold at a copper cash cost of US$1.22 per pound after gold and silver credits.

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