12 Oct 2015

Indonesia could change law on Papua mine contract

7:23 am on 12 October 2015

Indonesia's government is planning to amend its rules on mining contracts to allow the United States company, Freeport-McMoRan, to extend its contract at the Grasberg mine in West Papua.

Freeport's Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia.

Freeport's Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia. Photo: AFP

Freeport's contract for the world's largest copper and gold mine ends in 2021, but present rules only allow talks on an extension to end two years before a contract is due to expire.

Reuters reports a mines ministry official, Bambang Gatot, saying a revision to the government's regulations is being processed by the economics ministry, and should be released by the end of the year.

The new rules may allow companies to propose an extension 10 years before their contracts expire.

Freeport says it has been assured by the Indonesian government that its Grasberg contract would be extended beyond 2021.

The company plans to invest 18 billion dollars to transition the mine from an open pit to underground mining in late 2017.