TORONTO (Reuters) – Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX.N) said it was edging closer to a permit deal with Indonesia for its massive Grasberg mine, but the world’s second-biggest copper producer cautioned that it has not yet struck any formal agreements.
There has been little sign of progress since last August, when Freeport promised to divest a 51-percent stake in Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine, to the Indonesian government, in exchange for long-term operating rights.
But negotiations have produced positive results, insisted Chief Executive Richard Adkerson on a conference call with analysts, adding that all parties aim to complete talks in the first half of 2018.
Both sides had agreed on standards to set a fair market value for Freeport’s divestment – a key sticking point to date – and the government had accepted Freeport’s demand for long-term financial and legal certainty, he said.
“We’re focused on getting this Indonesian thing resolved and recognize that until we do, that’s going to be a factor for credit ratings, stock valuation,” Adkerson said.