TOKYO Nov 8 The Japanese owners of Southeast
Asia's only aluminium smelter said they seek an amicable
resolution of a dispute with the Indonesian government over its
takeover of the plant and are holding off on possible
A week has passed since Indonesia took control of
Sumatra-based PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) after talks
failed to produce an agreement over the price and other details
for transferring ownership of the smelter to Indonesia.
The Japanese side earlier said it would bring the case to
the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes
(ICSID) if talks failed.
"Our negotiations are still continuing, but both parties
think we should come to a conclusion as soon as possible," Jun
Yamamoto, general manager of the aluminium division at Sumitomo
Chemical Co Ltd, which represents a consortium of
Japanese shareholders, told Reuters in an telephone interview on
"We still want to resolve this issue amicably, but we are
also prepared to seek for arbitration at ICSID if no agreement
is made," he said.
Some Japanese government officials are worried the dispute
will hurt relations between Indonesia and Japan, which has
billions of dollars of investments in the resource-rich
Southeast Asian country, according to industry sources.
Indonesia's takeover of PT Inalum, which produced 246,000
tonnes of aluminium in the year ended March 2012, is part of
efforts by Southeast Asia's biggest economy to earn more revenue
from its natural resources and curb foreign ownership.
Inalum is Southeast Asia's only aluminium smelter, and one
of only a handful of smelters in Indonesia, which could explain
why it is such a desirable asset for Indonesia as it pushes to
develop mineral processing facilities along with a controversial
2014 ore export ban rule.
Nippon Asahan Aluminium (NAA), a consortium of 12 Japanese
firms, has been in talks for several months to sell its stake to
the Indonesian government, which owns the rest.
Negotiations have been held up over differing valuations of
Inalum's assets and other conditions.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Edited by Aaron Sheldrick and Jane