Indonesia, Freeport Near New Deal for Giant Copper Mine – by Fathiya Dahrul and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – December 15, 2017)

Indonesia and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. may sign a new agreement as soon as this weekend that will lay out a road-map for the transfer of majority ownership of the giant Grasberg mine to a local firm, according to people familiar with the proposal. Freeport shares rose.

The nation’s government, state-owned PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium — known as Inalum, and Phoenix-based Freeport are set to back a so-called transaction completion agreement as early as Sunday, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the details are private.

Under the new deal, Inalum will seek to acquire London-based Rio Tinto Group’s joint venture interest in Grasberg by March, and subsequently aim to convert the interest into an equity stake, two of the people said.

Eric Kinneberg, a spokesman for Freeport, declined to comment. Rio Tinto declined to comment in an email. Ricky Gunawan, Inalum’s corporate secretary, didn’t immediately respond to calls and text messages requesting comments.

Shares in the Phoenix-based company led gains by large metal producers on Friday, jumping 3.5 percent at 11:05 a.m. in New York.

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