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

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

Indonesia and Freeport have been in tough negotiations since past year after the government issued a new policy that requires miners to divest a 51 percent stake, relinquish arbitration rights and pay new taxes and royalties.

Indonesia and Papua have long pushed for greater control over Grasberg and the new ownership structure may ease tensions over spoils from the world's second-biggest copper mine, a focal point for local separatists.

Inalum said Friday it was grabbing a 41.64% stake in the local unit of Freeport, which increases its current ownership in it to 51%.

"The portion of the stake was to accommodate the rights of the indigenous people, which are affected by PTFI's [operation]", she told reporters on Friday.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that under the MoU, both the Papua administration and Mimika regency would jointly own a 10 percent stake out of the 51 percent of divested PTFI shares. Negotiations between the government and PTFI are still taking place.

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

Terror police arrest woman at Heathrow
She had just arrived on a flight from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa when she was arrested on Friday. Police have arrested a woman at London's Heathrow Airport on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack.

Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Inalum's chief executive, said the company will raise funds for the acquisition, but didn't elaborate.

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

Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot said on Thursday the government is targeting to complete contract discussions with Freeport by June, noting that divestment issues had not been resolved yet.

Indonesia plans to acquire Rio Tinto's 40 percent participating interest in Freeport's Grasberg contract, which entitles the country to 40 percent of production above specific levels until 2021 and 40 percent of all production after 2022. Rio has held talks with Indonesia about a possible exit to the venture.

A Melbourne-based spokesman for Rio declined to comment.


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