Copper Supply From Top Mine Threatened as Export Ban Looms (Bloomberg News – December 14, 2016)

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Exports from the world’s second-largest copper mine in Indonesia are under threat as a government ban on overseas concentrate shipments is scheduled to come into force from the middle of January.

While ministers are rushing to revise the regulations so miners that have committed to build smelters can continue to export ore concentrates, an intermediate product used to make copper, there’s no guarantee that the deadline will be met. The rules as they stand now only permit shipments of refined metal after Jan. 11.

Richard Adkerson, chief executive officer of Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the world’s biggest publicly traded copper miner and owner of the massive Grasberg mine in Papua province, says he’s confident the issue will be resolved.

He told a conference in the U.S. last week that without a resolution the company would have to cut back operations and potentially curb development of the underground mine where it’s spending $1 billion a year. CRU Group, a consultancy, says the regulations will be changed.

“CRU’s view is that the rules will be revised and Freeport McMoRan will be able to continue to export Grasberg concentrates,” Christine Meilton, principal consultant, copper supply and raw materials, said by e-mail from London.

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