UPDATE 2-Shareholders tell miner Freeport to get tough with Indonesia – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – February 27, 2017)


Feb 27 Shareholders are pressuring miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc to stand up to the Indonesian government over changes the Southeast Asian country wants to make in the U.S. miner’s contract, Freeport’s chief executive officer said on Monday.

Rio Tinto Plc, which is a partner in Freeport’s massive Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia, is also supportive of Freeport’s tougher approach toward Jakarta, CEO Richard Adkerson said. In some of his strongest language yet on the issue, Adkerson said the new regulations sought by Indonesia were “in effect a form of expropriation of our assets and we are resisting it aggressively.”

“Many of our shareholders feel that we have been too nice. Now we are in the position of standing up for our rights under the contract,” Adkerson told a mining conference of institutional investors in Hollywood, Florida.

He said Freeport had held talks with large shareholders but did not name them. Freeport’s third-biggest shareholder is activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds around 7 percent of its shares. Icahn has been appointed a special adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Freeport, the world’s biggest publicly listed copper producer, warned last week it could take the Indonesian government to arbitration and seek damages over a contractual dispute that has halted operations and exports at Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine.

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