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Jakarta Post

Local miners ready to operate Grasberg mine, says lawmaker

  • Viriya P. Singgih

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 14, 2017   /  05:37 pm
Local miners ready to operate Grasberg mine, says lawmaker A worker monitors mineral flotation to produce copper, gold and silver concentrates at one of Freeport Indonesia's facilities. (Kompas/B. Josie Susilo Hardianto)

A lawmaker has urged the government to give local mining companies the chance to manage Papua’s Grasberg mine, the world's biggest gold mine and second-largest copper mine, if it fails to reach a settlement with PT Freeport Indonesia over a contractual dispute.

“The mine could be operated by state-owned mining firms like PT Aneka Tambang [Antam], for instance, which already has a lot of experience in the mining sector,” Mukhtar Tompo, a member of the House of Representatives Commission VII overseeing natural mineral resources and the environment, from the Hanura Party, said on Monday.

Freeport, Indonesia’s oldest foreign investor, is in a deadlock over its future operations in the country, as the government requires the company to convert its contract of work (CoW) signed in 1991 into a special mining license (IUPK) in return for an export permit extension.

(Read also: Indonesia prepares Rp 40t to acquire Freeport shares)

The subsidiary of the United States-based Freeport McMoRan has repeatedly rejected the idea of contract conversion and stated that if the dispute was prolonged, it may take the case to international arbitration, a move that many deem would be costly for both parties.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has also previously stated that state-owned aluminum producer PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) was capable of managing the Grasberg mine.

“We can manage [the Grasberg mine]. We have Inalum. It is up to the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry, but we are ready,” Luhut said recently. (bbn)

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