Rio Tinto pushes Grasberg deal closure into 2019 – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – September 30, 2018)

Rio Tinto could be waiting up to nine months for the proceeds of its Grasberg copper divestment to flow through, despite clearing a significant hurdle on the transaction in recent days.

Indonesian state-owned company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) signed binding agreements with Rio and its partner Freeport McMoran to reshape the ownership structure of the mine, under a deal that will give Inalum majority ownership and Rio $US3.5 billion in cash proceeds.

But the “binding” deals were said to be conditional on further approvals, including from anti-trust regulators in several nations.

Freeport is also seeking further guarantees relating to its future operating rights in Indonesia, including waste management at Grasberg which has controversially put much of its wastes into nearby rivers.

The Indonesian government has indicated it wants the riverine waste issue to cease, but Freeport believes alternative waste management options are not technically feasible.

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