Freeport Indonesia Set on Continuing Talks With Govt. After Missing Permit Deadline
Freeport Indonesia president director Maroef Sjamsuddin, center, chats with engineers at the company’s mining site. The miner is currently in talks with the government to extend its export permit, which officially ended on Saturday. (SP Photo/Primus Dorimulu)
Freeport Indonesia, the local unit of US mining giant Freeport McMoRan, remains hopeful to secure an export permit from the government after missing Saturday’s deadline. The speed bump effectively halted the company’s exports, putting its mining production at risk.
“There’s is no definite cancellation yet,” Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said last Monday. “We are still discussing the matter with the government. Hopefully, we can reach a deal in the near future.”
Freeport Indoneisa last week submitted a request to export 575,000 tons of copper concentrate from its Grassberg mine in Papua for the next six months. Under previous permits, the company was allowed to export 756,000 metric tons of concentrate from January through July 2014 and 580,000 metric tons of concentrate in the same period this year.
The government had previously instructed the miner to build a smelter in the country, promising to grant export permits based on progress the company makes in the plant’s construction.
Bambang Gatot Ariyono, coal and mineral director general at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said Freeport has yet to complete 60 percent of the smelter and spend the corresponding budget.
“So, we cannot grant the permit, and [Freeport Indonesia’s] exports will stop [on Jul. 25],” Bambang said.
Still, both parties are scheduled to continue talks on Monday, giving the company as much time as it needs to fulfill its obligation, Bambang added.