A quick look at the Grasberg copper mine, past present and future. (Image: Freeport McMoRan)
INDONESIA – The rumours are flying this week concerning who might buy out Rio Tinto’s share of the giant Grasberg copper mine in the province of Papua. Rio let it be known several weeks ago that it wanted to sell its 40% share of production, and a deal seems to be close. The decision follows demands from the Indonesian government that it be given a majority share of the project.
The name of PT Inalum, an Indonesian aluminum smelting company, has been popping up all week as the likely purchaser. The deal is said by some sources to be worth US$4.3 billion.
Another hint that a sale may be close is the willingness of the government to extend the operating permit for the mine until the end of the month.
The Grasberg operation is currently owned approximately 90% by American Freeport-McMoRan and 10% by the Indonesian government. Mining is transitioning to underground as the pit resources near exhaustion.
Learn more about the Grasberg mine at www.FCX.com.