JAKARTA: Indonesia will take a majority stake in one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines, the government said Thursday, as it moves to claw back control of its natural resources, reports AFP.
State-owned mining firm Inalum is to assume a 51 percent interest in the Grasberg mine under an agreement to be signed later in the day, President Joko Widodo said.Indonesia currently holds just under 10 percent of the mine, which is owned and operated by a unit of US-based Freeport-McMoRan. Freeport is expected to continue operating the vast complex in the jungles of Papua province—and keep the remaining ownership stake.
Widodo did not reveal financial details of the agreement, which he said came after “very difficult, intense” negotiations.
“This is a leap forward,” he told reporters. “It’s a done deal, we just need to sign it.” The deal means more tax and royalties revenue for the government, he added.
Ministers were set to hold a news conference about the deal later in the day.
The announcement comes after more than a year of see-saw negotiations over the future of Freeport’s operations in the Southeast Asian nation.
The company and Indonesia’s government have sparred over the ownership of Grasberg and its social and environmental impact, including how the firm manages mine waste known as tailings.