Freeport McMoRan Warns Indonesia's Export Ban May Bring Output Cuts and Layoffs

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Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold is clearly feeling a bit unsteady. The company “warned that Indonesia’s plan to ban mineral exports from next month would cut the firm’s revenues in the country by 65 percent, costing Southeast Asia’s biggest economy $1.6 billion in lost revenue next year,” reports Reuters.

“From January, mining companies must process ore before shipping it overseas, part of policies aimed at boosting the value of exports of raw materials from Indonesia, the world’s top exporter of nickel ore, thermal coal and refined tin.”

“Last week, lawmakers said they would not dilute the law, adopted five years ago, and it must go ahead as scheduled.”

“If there are no changes to the ban, Freeport was expected to face a loss in revenue of around $5 billion next year, or 65 percent of its total in Indonesia, due to losses in production from the world’s second-largest copper mine.”

“The U.S. mining giant estimated that output at its Grasberg mine would fall by 60 percent next year, consisting of a cut of 900 million pounds of copper and 1.7 million ounces of gold. It would also have to layoff half of its 15,000 employees in Indonesia.”

The Japanese copper cash price moved up 0.5 percent on Wednesday, December 11, making it the day’s biggest mover. The price of US copper producer grade 110 gained 0.3 percent to finish. The price of US copper producer grade 122 rose 0.3 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 102 increased 0.2 percent.

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Chinese copper prices were mixed for the day. Chinese copper bar saw its price rise 0.2 percent. After a 0.2 percent increase, the cash price of Chinese copper finished the day. Chinese copper wire finished the day up 0.2 percent. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap continues to hover for the fifth day in a row.

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On the LME, the primary copper cash price inched up 0.4 percent to $7,165 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the copper 3-month price gained 0.3 percent to finish at $7,161 per metric ton.