Freeport and Newmont: Indonesian Rules Infringe on Contracts

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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Newmont Mining Corp. are not pleased. “[T]he largest U.S. miners, said new Indonesian rules on metal export duties infringe on contracts they have with the government,” reports Bloomberg.

“Indonesia issued regulations on metal exports this month that curbed the shipping of unprocessed ore and placed duties on exports of copper concentrate, a semi-processed ore that’s shipped from mines to smelters. The rules have resulted in delays to obtain export permits, and Freeport plans to defer some production, according to the Phoenix-based company, the world’s biggest publicly traded copper producer.”

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“The duties on copper, which begin at 25 percent and will rise to 60 percent by mid-2016, took Freeport by surprise, Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson said yesterday on a conference call with analysts. Indonesia, where the company operates its biggest mine, the Grasberg copper and gold operation, accounted for 19 percent of its third-quarter revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Newmont’s Batu Hijau mine in the country contributed 6.8 percent of the miner’s total sales, the data show.”

In metal price news for copper…

On Wednesday, January 22, the day’s biggest mover was US copper producer grade 110 price, which saw a 0.5 percent increase. The price of US copper producer grade 122 rose 0.5 percent. The price of US copper producer grade 102 inched up 0.5 percent. The Japanese copper cash price gained 0.3 percent to finish.

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Chinese copper closed mixed yesterday. Chinese copper bar prices inched up 0.2 percent. The Chinese copper cash price increased 0.2 percent. The price of Chinese copper wire held steady. The price of Chinese bright copper scrap was essentially unchanged.

The 3-month price of copper saw a 0.3 percent decline on the LME to $7,280 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the primary copper cash price saw little change in its price on Wednesday at $7,332 per metric ton.