Indonesia requests meeting with Freeport-McMoRan to settle issues at Grasberg Mine
The government of Indonesia said it will invite Freeport-McMoRan chief executive officer Richard Adkerson to Jakarta to try to settle a dispute over new rules that have impacted the company’s Grasberg Mine.
In April, Freeport-McMoRan resumed copper concentrate exports from the mine following a 15-week outage related to the argument over mining rights, but a permanent solution to the dispute is yet to be found, Reuters reported.
Any meeting with Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson would be attended by mineral resources minister Ignasius Jonan and finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, mining ministry secretary general Teguh Pamuji said.
A U.S.-based Freeport spokesman declined to confirm whether Adkerson would attend the planned meeting, but said both sides continued “to work toward reaching a mutually positive resolution to support our long-term investment plans.”
The conflict comes as Freeport pushes back against parts of new government rules that require miners to adopt a special license, pay new taxes and royalties, divest a 51-percent stake in their operations and relinquish arbitration rights. The company is one of Indonesia's biggest taxpayers.
Freeport has maintained its request for a so-called 'investment stability agreement' to help replicate the legal and fiscal certainty it had under its existing agreement with the government, said Pamuji.
Finance minister Indrawati is known for her no-nonsense approach to negotiations and knack for slicing through red tape.
Freeport has also asked for a guarantee on rights to mine Grasberg up to 2041 before committing to billions of dollars of planned underground mine investments and a second Indonesian copper smelter. But Pamuji said the government were only willing to extend the company's permit by 10 years to begin with, to 2031 from 2021.