Indonesia to settle Freeport environment issues in weeks – ministry official – by Bernadette Christina Munthe (Reuters U.S. – November 22, 2018)

JAKARTA, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s environment ministry aims to resolve within two weeks environmental issues that have been holding up the state’s plans to acquire a majority stake in Freeport McMoRan Inc’s Grasberg copper mine.

That deal, where Indonesia and state-owned miner PT Inalum will control a 51.23 percent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, is expected to end years of wrangling over ownership rights to Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine.

But the planned $3.85 billion series of transactions are still subject to environmental clearances and a special mining permit by the Indonesian government after a 2017 audit found the mine to be in breach of environmental rules.

The environmental report said Freeport had allowed tailings from the mine to extend beyond previously agreed limits, polluting coastal areas, and that the Phoenix, Arizona-based company had operated in areas of Papuan forest without a permit.

Freeport has said it complies with Indonesia’s environmental rules. Environment ministry inspector general Ilyas Asaad said on Thursday his office had issued preliminary documents for Grasberg’s environmental clearance.

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