BHP Billiton has agreed to sell 25 percent of its stake in the Maruwai Coal Project in Kalimantan to Indonesia’s second largest thermal coal producer PT Adaro Energy, the world’s largest mining company announced Wednesday.
“These agreements with Adaro provide a strong local partner to ensure the successful development of our world class metallurgical coal interests in Indonesia,” BHP’s president for metallurgical coal Hubie van Dalsen said on the firms’s website.
BHP holds the remaining 75 percent of Maruwai and the company will form a joint venture with Adaro to manage it.
The Maruwai project’s external relations manager Indra Diannanjaya would not divulge the value of the 25 percent divested stake, since the completion of the transaction is subject to government approval.
Bambang Setiawan, director general for minerals, coal and geothermal at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said the divestment stake had been regulated in each mining contract. “We will evaluate whether this [BHP divestment] has been in accordance with the contract or not,” Bambang said.
The Maruwai coal project covers seven Coal Contracts of Work (CCoWs) located in East and Central Kalimantan and Adaro has operations near the site. BHP said the concession contained an estimated 774 million tons of undeveloped metallurgical and thermal coal. The project is expected to start coal production in 2014 with output to reach 6 million tons per year by 2019.
One of the contracts covers the Haju open-cast mine, where BHP plans to invest US$100 million.
BHP initially expected the mine to begin coal production by the middle of 2009, but in June last year the company decided to back down from its plan to develop the Haju mine, saying the project was not in line with the company’s long term business strategy.
This decision led to some 450 workers losing their jobs.
The company also signaled that it would completely pull out from Indonesia. However, in January BHP revised this position and told legislators it would only sell between 20 and 25 percent of its stake in the mine.
Several companies had reportedly bid for the 25 percent stake including PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam, the Djarum Group, the Rajawali Corp., Medco Energi, and PT Antam.