JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia expects to strike an agreement this month to allow Freeport McMoRan Inc to keep operating its huge copper mine in Papua in the coming decades, the country’s mining and energy minister said on Tuesday.
The U.S. mining giant has been locked in a lengthy dispute with the government over the rights to mine at Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine, costing both sides hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I expect to have a conclusion this month,” Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources Ignasius Jonan said in an interview with Reuters, when asked about the status of the negotiations.
Last month, Freeport Chief Executive Richard Adkerson also said he was confident about reaching a deal on a special mining permit before October when the company’s temporary permit allowing copper exports is due to expire. Jonan said that once an agreement was finalised, Freeport would be allowed to apply for two 10-year permit extensions to mine at Grasberg beyond 2021.
Revised rules in Indonesia require miners to divest a 51 percent stake, relinquish arbitration rights and pay new taxes and royalties. Freeport insists on getting the same fiscal and legal protection as in its current contract.
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