Freeport Resumes Grasberg Shipments One Month After Halt

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. resumed concentrate shipments from its Grasberg complex in Indonesia about a month after warning it may miss deliveries from the world’s second-largest copper mine.

“We have resumed shipments but have yet to reach normal level,” Rozik B. Soetjipto, president director at unit PT Freeport Indonesia said in a phone text message yesterday.

Freeport on June 12 declared force majeure on shipments from the mine in Papua province, a statement that allows it to miss deliveries because of circumstances beyond its control. Indonesia ordered the company to suspend work at the mine after a tunnel collapse on May 14 that killed 28 workers. The company hasn’t lifted the force majeure, Soetjipto said today.

The resumption of sales may increase copper supplies and extend the 14 percent drop in prices this year. Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.07 percent to $6,825.25 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange at 2 p.m. in Jakarta.

Freeport has received permission from the Indonesian government to restart production at the underground mine in Grasberg and the company is preparing to resume operations, Soetjipto said today. The underground mine may take longer to reach its normal output, compared with the open-pit facility, he said, without providing a timeframe.

Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport restarted Grasberg on June 22 after the government approved milling and open-pit operations, Daisy Primayanti, a spokeswoman at the Indonesian unit, said June 24. The open-pit mine has reached normal output, Soetjipto said July 1.

Freeport Indonesia lost about 115 million pounds (52,000 metric tons) of copper and 115,000 ounces of gold between May 15 and June 21, the company said in a statement June 24. The underground stoppage reduced output by about 1 million pounds and 1,000 ounces of gold a day, it said.

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