| JAKARTA, July 2
JAKARTA, July 2 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
Inc is still in talks with Indonesia over a six-month
dispute that has halted copper exports, and has no plan yet to
follow Newmont Mining Corp in seeking international
Freeport confirmed its chief executive Richard Adkerson is
still in Jakarta, as the two sides try to broker a deal to
restart shipments of copper concentrate from Freeport's Grasberg
complex, one of the world's biggest copper mines.
Newmont, which declared force majeure last month at its Batu
Hijau copper mine, said on Tuesday it had filed for
international arbitration against the government, citing export
curbs that include an escalating export tax.
"We have no such plan yet," Rozik Soetjipto, Freeport
Indonesia CEO, told Reuters in a text on Wednesday. Asked about
talks with the government, he said: "Still ongoing."
Global copper prices, currently not far off
four-month highs, have been underpinned by the disruption to
supplies from Indonesia.
Freeport and Newmont, which account for 97 percent of
Indonesia's copper production, halted concentrate exports in
January when the government introduced new mining rules,
including an export tax, in an effort to force miners to build
smelters and processing plants in Indonesia.
The miners argue that their current contracts mean they
should be exempt from the tax.
An attempt to solve the issue and restart copper concentrate
exports was spearheaded by Indonesia's new chief economics
minister and billionaire businessma Chairul Tanjung last month.
Tanjung said on Wednesday he was disappointed by Newmont's
"This makes us wonder whether Newmont has a good will to
deal with Indonesian government," he said. "We expect Newmont to
sit back down with us so we can finish negotiations together."
Swelling mine supply had been expected to tip the copper
market into a surplus this year for the first time in several
years, keeping a lid on prices and boosting the processing fees
that miners pay smelters to refine metal.
But the protracted standoff over exports has wiped out the
expected surplus and supported prices. Copper prices
traded near around $6,987 per tonne on Wednesday.
"We'll see around 400,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate
removed from the market this year. We are now expecting a
relatively balanced market," said analyst Matt Fusarelli at AME
Group in Sydney.
"Any further reductions would probably tip the market into
deficit this year."
At least one large Chinese copper smelter had agreed to pay
lower processing fees with global miner BHP Billiton <BHP.AX
BLT> for term concentrate shipments in the second half of 2014,
from January to June shipments, two sources said last month.
(Reporting by Michael Taylor and Yayat Supriatna. Additional
reporting by Melanie Burton in SYDNEY; Editing by Richard