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Freeport says Indonesian unit may need to declare force majeure

Published on Feb 28, 2014 10:43 AM

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold said its Indonesian unit may need to declare force majeure on copper concentrate sales if a dispute with the government over export taxes drags on for a prolonged period.

Freeport and fellow US miner Newmont Mining Corp have refused to pay a progressive export tax introduced last month as part of package of new mining rules aimed at forcing miners to build smelters and process raw materials in Indonesia.

Freeport has reduced copper production at the world's fifth-biggest copper mine in Papua, and its nearby mill was operating at half its normal capacity.

"In the event that PT-FI (PT Freeport Indonesia) is unable to resume normal operations for an extended period, we plan to consider further actions, including constraining operating costs, deferring capital expenditures and implementing workforce reductions," the firm said in a filing dated Feb 27.

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