JAKARTA, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoran’s Indonesian unit exported only two shipments of copper concentrate during August, a union official said on Friday, as new payment rules for buyers and the closure of the company’s domestic smelter hindered supplies.
Freeport Indonesia, which usually produces about 220,000 tonnes of copper ore per day, said last week that concentrate exports from its giant Papua mine had slowed since July 25 as it faced new rules on how buyers pay for metal.
Under normal conditions, Freeport makes four to six shipments per month, of which about a third usually go to its domestic smelter at Gresik, Freeport Papua-based union official Virgo Solossa told Reuters.
Gresik has been closed due to a technical problem since June 19.
It was unclear on Friday whether production at Grasberg was running at full capacity, although Solossa said that the U.S. mining giant sent a letter to employees on Aug. 20 asking for greater efficiency and emphasizing the need for cost-saving.
Freeport Indonesia said in an email that concentrate shipments were proceeding normally after the Indonesian government renewed its export license on July 29. Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama did not give further details on exports or output.
Freeport negotiated a six-month export permit with the Indonesian government on July 27. It is still in talks on new government rules making it compulsory for its exports to be transacted through letters of credit issued by domestic banks.
Reporting by Bernadette Christina; Additional reporting by Michael Taylor and Wilda Asmarini in Jakarta; Writing by Michael Taylor; Editing by Richard Pullin