Indonesia closes long-awaited $5.3b Freeport deal


Vehicles used for transporting workers to the Grasberg copper mine, operated by Freeport-McMoRan, at the Gorong-Gorong terminal in Timika,in Indonesia's Papua province, on Nov 16, 2017.
Vehicles used for transporting workers to the Grasberg copper mine, operated by Freeport-McMoRan, at the Gorong-Gorong terminal in Timika,in Indonesia's Papua province, on Nov 16, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia's state-owned miner PT Inalum on Friday (Dec 21) concluded a series of transactions worth US$3.85 billion (S$5.3 billion) to take majority control over the local unit of Freeport-McMoRan, operator of Grasberg, the world's second-biggest copper mine.

"Today is a historical moment since Freeport began operating in Indonesia in 1973," President Joko Widodo told reporters at a press conference.

"Everything has been completed, and now all that's left is the work," Joko said.

The landmark deal, which hands Inalum a 51.23 per cent stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, ends years of tough and often fractious negotiations over ownership rights to Grasberg, amid a push by Jakarta to gain greater control over its mineral wealth.

For Joko, seeking re-election next year, getting a majority stake in the mine for Indonesia is a political boon, and he had urged both sides to wrap up the deal quickly.