| JAKARTA, April 4
JAKARTA, April 4 Indonesia has issued Freeport
McMoRan Inc's local unit with a temporary "special
mining permit" allowing the miner to apply for a resumption of
copper concentrate exports while the two sides negotiate
longer-term mining rights.
Mining Ministry Secretary-General Teguh Pamuji said on
Tuesday that Freeport could resume exports while discussions
with the government continue on investment stability, divestment
and domestic smelting, among other areas.
With the issuance of the permit, "Freeport can export
concentrate and pay an export duty," Pamuji told reporters. The
permit is backdated to Feb. 10 and will be valid until Oct. 10.
Indonesia stopped miners from exporting copper concentrate
on Jan. 12 under rules that requiring Freeport to adopt a new
license that includes new taxes and royalties before being
allowed to resume shipments from its Grasberg mine, the world's
second-biggest copper mine.
Freeport, the world's biggest publicly listed copper
producer, has insisted that any new permit must have the same
fiscal and legal guarantees as those in its 30-year mining
contract, and warned in February if the matter was not resolved
by June 17 it could go to arbitration and seek
Pamuji also said that, along with the temporary permit,
Indonesia will continue to respect Freeport's existing 30-year
mining rights, or Contract of Work, under a new approach to
address the long-term and short-term issues around Grasberg.
An earlier recommendation for Freeport to export up to 1.1
million tonnes of concentrate until Feb 2018 would still apply,
but the company still needs an export permit from the Trade
Ministry, said Director General of Coal and Minerals Bambang
Gatot at the briefing with Pamuji.
Oke Nurwan, the director general of foreign trade at the
Trade Ministry said his office had not received an application
for exports from Freeport yet.
A spokesman for Freeport Indonesia did not respond to
requests for comment.
The issuance of the temporary permit comes amid efforts by
both sides to relieve the impasse.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on
March 30 that the two sides were "in the final stage of
discussions" on a deal that would allow exports for the next six
months while a final permit is negotiated.
Jonan added at the time that if Freeport agreed to a special
permit exports could resume.
(Reporting by Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing
by Christian Schmollinger)