Indonesia lays groundwork for local control of Freeport's Grasberg mine

Indonesia sets framework for Freeport to yield control of Grasberg mine

Indonesia lays groundwork for local control of Freeport's Grasberg mine

Indonesian authorities inked Friday a deal with state-owned holding Asahan Aluminum, or Inalum, which sets a framework for Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) to transfer control of its massive Grasberg copper and gold mine as agreed previous year.

Indonesia and Freeport agreed in principle in August to set up Freeport's rights to Grasberg according to a new mine licence that replaces an existing contract of work.

Grasberg is the world's second-biggest copper mine and is located in the eastern Indonesian province of Papua.

The American miner also said it would divest up to 51 per cent of its local unit to " Indonesia interests".

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The agreement allows the Papua provincial government and Mimika regency to act as a consortium in the acquisition, with funding provided by Inalum, Indonesia's finance minister says.

Inalum, which holds ownership of all state-owned mining companies, has been nominated to acquire an additional 41.64 percent in Freeport Indonesia, which would take Indonesia's share of PTFI to 51 percent, up from 9.36 percent now.

A Freeport Indonesia spokesman, Napoleon Sawai, said last month that Jakarta values the stake at $4 billion, while the USA company values it between $12 billion and $13 billion.

The 10 percent to be held by Papua and Mimika would be part of this Inalum holding, government officials have said previously.

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Disagreement on the valuation of Grasberg may hold up a deal, analysts have said.

"As of December 2017, PTFI's realized exports stood at only 921,137 tons", the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's mineral and coal director general Bambang Gatot Ariyono said on Thursday.

She was referring to a joint venture Freeport formed with Rio Tinto in 1996.

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