Freeport Indonesia’s $3bn copper smelter on track for completion

JAKARTA –  US mining giant Freeport McMoRan’s Indonesian copper smelter, one of the largest in the world, will be completed by the end of this year, an official from the Indonesian unit said on Thursday.

The $3 billion facility in Gresik, East Java, will have a capacity of 1.7 million tonnes of copper concentrate and will begin operations gradually in 2024.

Agung Laksamana, vice president of external affairs at Indonesia Freeport, said the “remarkable” fusion will reach 100% readiness by the end of 2023. He said that the current graduation rate is 51.7%.

Freeport’s statement came as President Joko Widodo reiterated this week that the country will stick to its plan to ban copper ore exports to encourage domestic processing of the material in June.

Asked if Freeport would be allowed to export after June if its smelters are not ready, the president told Reuters on Wednesday that while he had not decided on relief, he would try to find a solution without lifting the ban. Widodo blamed delays at the Freeport smelter on the pandemic.

Freeport Indonesia said last week that its copper production in 2023 will be about 1.6 billion pounds (725,748 tons).

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