International Mining Laws to Impact Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan

Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 4:25pm

A decision approximately 8,697 miles away could have a big impact on a Phoenix-based corporation. Indonesia is expected to issue new mining laws this week that will affect copper and mining exports.

Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia is one of its largest, yielding approximately a third of the company’s total copper sales, according to its last quarterly financial statement. (Indonesia’s consolidated copper sales totaled 332 million pounds of the 1.23 billion pound total for the third quarter in 2016.)

A change to existing mining rules there is critical for Freeport, as the company exports about two-thirds of the mine’s output.

Current Indonesian regulations prohibit exports of copper concentrate after mid-January.

Rules now being drafted will allow concentrate shipments to continue beyond that deadline in certain cases. The new export rules will cover contracts and permits, exports, taxes, divestment obligations and domestic processing requirements, and other issues.

In December, the Indonesian government said Freeport would first need to agree on new fiscal terms, including taxes and royalties, among other things, issues that may take longer to resolve.

Since 2014, Indonesia banned ore exports, with few exceptions, in order to push mining companies to build smelters within the country and process ore locally.

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