The Jakarta Post
In another sign of receding tension with the government over the future of its operations, PT Freeport Indonesia has submitted its proposal to obtain a permit to resume exports of copper concentrates.
The mining company, a subsidiary of US-based gold and copper mining giant Freeport McMoRan Inc. was forced to halt shipments when its last export permit ended on Jan. 11, as it failed to comply with new terms set by the government as a condition for allowing exports.
The new terms include converting Freeport’s Contract of Work (CoW) agreement into a Special Mining Permit (IUPK) and divesting 51 percent of its shares to Indonesian entities.
A worker monitors the mineral flotation process to produce copper, gold and silver concentrates in one of Freeport Indonesia's facilities.(Kompas/B. Josie Susilo Hardianto)
Recently, the government issued a ministerial decree to grant temporary IUPK licenses, which many see as a move to allow Freeport to continue to export while negotiations are ongoing.
The Trade Ministry's director general for foreign trade, Oke Nurwan, said in a statement on Friday evening that the proposal had been made on Thursday, while required documents had been submitted online on Friday.
The filing included a recommendation from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry dated Feb. 17 for the shipment of copper concentrates totaling 1.11 million tons until Feb. 16 next year, he added.
Its previous export permit had allowed overseas deliveries of 1.43 million tons of the semi-processed ore in just five months, starting on Aug. 9 last year.
The export permit proposal was submitted on the day when US Vice President Mike Pence visited Indonesia and met President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to discuss some contentious issues in bilateral relations, including Freeport's fate.
Freeport has been operating the world's second-biggest copper mine in Papua for more than five decades, with critics claiming its operations give only few benefits to locals. (lnd)