4) Freeport`s Export License Extended until 2017
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta- The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry issued a recommendation letter approving Freeport Indonesia to export copper concentrates. The recommendation will be used by the US miner to request an export approval letter from the Trade Ministry.
Director General of Mineral and Coal Bambang Gatot Ariyono told Tempo on Tuesday, August 9, 2016, that Freeport also received an additional export quota to 1.4 million tons.
The recommendation letter is valid for five months until January 11, 2017. The concentrate export ban will begin the day after or on January 12, 2017.
Freeport's management was unable to confirm the report. "I have not checked it," the company's spokesman Riza Pratama said.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives' (DPR) Energy Commission member Satya Widya Yudha said that Freeport's export extension is against regulations. The Mining Law stipulates that a miner may not export concentrates without having first built a smelter. Freeport's smelter construction progress is stalled at 14%.
Satya said that a government regulation in lieu of the Mining Law is issued first, considering the Mining Law revision is not likely to be completed this year.
A similar sentiment came from law mining expert Ahmad Redi, who suggested the government to lobby the DPR to revise articles about the smelter mandate.
"When an export permit is given, the national regulations are violated. Not only the Mining Law but the Energy Minister's Regulation is broken by giving an export license until February 2017," Redi said Redi.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian Mining Association's chairman Ido Hutabarat said that not renewing Freeport's export license would cause financial troubles to the miner.
"We are just looking from the commercial point of view. Without an export license, Freeport will have fewer or no sales at all."
Ido asked the government to stop permitting export based on smelter-building progress because Freeport's smelter construction will not run smoothly without certainties about their contract. The fate of Freeport's activities in Papua will be decided in 2019 or two years before its contract expires.
ROBBY IRFANY | ALI HIDAYAT