Freeport, Luhut Comment on Additional 10% Share for Government
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian government asked for an additional 10 percent stake from US-based gold and copper miner Freeport Indonesia as a condition of its operating permit extension. Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and Freeport president director Tony Wenas have spoken up about the demand.
Luhut did not give a clear answer when asked about the additional stake. He said the negotiation is underway.
“I think it’s still ongoing. I am having a negotiation,” he said shortly when met by reporters at Jakarta Mulia Hotel on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.
Tony Wenas, meanwhile, said that he will comply with government directives. “I have not yet [received an extended contract], we’ll just follow it. We welcome this matter because there are a lot of resources, it's unfortunate if it's not continued,” Tony said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
However, when asked about the additional 10% stake, he was reluctant to explain further.
Freeport reportedly applied for an extension of its operating permit in Indonesia which currently runs until 2041. The government through the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is discussing the matter, particularly considering additional revenue and benefits for the state.
One of the conditions requested is that Freeport Indonesia must agree to sell an additional 10% stake to the government. That way, Indonesia’s shareholding will increase to 61 percent.
Investment Minister and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia disclosed the requirement as the US company’s revenue is getting better.
Throughout 2022, state revenue from Freeport including taxes, dividends, and non-tax state revenue reached US$3.32 billion. In 2023, it is estimated to hit US$3.76 billion.
“If Freeport doesn't want to give [more stake], I'm ready to be evaluated as a minister. Ten percent must come at a low cost, I don't want to ask for the current valuation,” Bahlil said on Friday, April 28, 2023.
AMELIA RAHIMA SARI | ANTARA
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