JAKARTA May 30 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
Inc's CEO will be in Indonesia next week for talks to
resolve the U.S. miner's impasse with the government over
exports from its giant Grasberg copper and gold mine that have
halted since January.
A Freeport spokeswoman declined to provide details on Chief
Executive Richard Adkerson's visit.
Indonesia levied in January an escalating tax on copper
concentrate exports as part of efforts to force miners to build
smelters and processing industries in Southeast Asia's largest
economy to move up the value chain.
However, Arizona-based Freeport and Colorado-based Newmont
Mining Corp, accounting for 97 percent of the country's
copper output, say the rules conflict with their mining
contracts that exempt them from new taxes and duties.
Newly appointed chief economic minister Chairul Tanjung said
on Wednesday the issues would be resolved next week with the
Freeport management in Jakarta and that exports could restart
The government says its minerals policies are a success,
with a spike in nickel prices and 66 smelter projects in the
The controversial mineral policy and halt to mineral exports
have political ramifications for the next leaders of Southeast
Asia's largest economy as it approaches elections in July.
Disputes and confusion over the rules have halted about $500
million worth of monthly mineral ore and concentrate exports,
causing concerns it is widening the country's already large
current account deficit.
Earlier, Freeport said production at the world's
fifth-largest copper mine had been slashed by around 60 percent
and that a force majeure could be announced if the dispute drags
Rapidly reaching its stockpile capacity, Newmont warned
earlier this month it may start ramping down production and
laying off workers from its Batu Hijau mine from June.
Newmont's spokesman in Jakarta declined on Friday to comment
on whether this would go ahead as planned.
Freeport and Newmont are currently in talks with Indonesia's
state-owned PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) to build a $2.2
billion copper smelter, but plans for the project are yet to be
Both Freeport and Newmont had agreed to pay deposits worth a
total of $140 million to the government to guarantee their
commitment to the smelter, Coal and Minerals Director General
Sukhyar said this week.
The government has set new 2014 copper concentrate export
volumes of 600,000 tonnes for Freeport and 250,000 tonnes for
Newmont, worth around $1.5 billion, Sukhyar said, roughly half
the government's previous target.
(Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Muralikumar Anantharaman)