December 21, 2018 / 9:50 AM / a year ago

Indonesia closes long-awaited $3.85 bln Freeport deal

JAKARTA, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s state-owned miner PT Inalum on Friday concluded a series of transactions worth $3.85 billion to take majority control over the local unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc, operator of Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine.

“Today is a historical moment since Freeport began operating in Indonesia in 1973,” President Joko Widodo told reporters at a press conference.

“Everything has been completed, and now all that’s left is the work,” Widodo said.

The landmark deal, which hands Inalum a 51.23 percent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, ends years of tough and often fractious negotiations over ownership rights to Grasberg, amid a push by Jakarta to gain greater control over its mineral wealth.

For Widodo, seeking reelection next year, getting a majority stake in the mine for Indonesia is a political boon, and he had urged both sides to wrap up the deal quickly. (Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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