Freeport Gets Five-Month Permit to Export Indonesian Concentrate

  • Freeport can ship 1.4 mln tons concentrates through Jan. 11
  • Government may revise law that bans shipments from January

Indonesia renewed an export license allowing Freeport-McMoRan Inc. to ship 1.4 million metric tons of concentrate from its Grasberg copper and gold mine through Jan. 11, Marthin Simanungkalit, a director at the Trade Ministry, said in a text message Thursday.

The period is less than the usual six months because Indonesia is set to halt shipments of semi-processed metals including concentrates from Jan. 12. That ban may be postponed in a revision to the 2009 Mining Law, because the collapse in commodity prices has delayed the construction of smelters to refine the materials. Parliament will review the bill later this year.

PT Freeport Indonesia will have to pay a 5 percent tax on the shipments because the construction of a smelter in East Java is only about 14 percent complete, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, director-general of coal and minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said on Aug. 9. The company missed the groundbreaking target in July as the land was not ready, according to spokesman Riza Pratama.

Pratama said by text message on Thursday that he had no information about future shipment plans. The Grasberg mine in Papua is the world’s largest in terms of copper capacity after Escondida, according to the International Copper Study Group. The company says it has the single biggest gold reserves.

Freeport cut its production forecast for Grasberg, the Phoenix-based company said in statement last month. Output was hampered by repairs to a milling circuit and lower-than-expected mining rates and productivity at the open pit, it said. Freeport expects copper sales volume at Grasberg this year to be 7.1 percent less than forecast in April, while gold sales will be 8.1 percent lower.