PT-FI is currently mining the final phase of the Grasberg open pit, which contains high copper and gold ore grades. (Photo: Freeport Indonesia)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Government of Indonesia has received a Rp1.4 trillion (approx. US$112 million) payout from PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US-based Freeport McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX), as a dividend payment for 2017. This becomes the first payment disbursed since the company suffered three years of losses in a row, according to Askolani, an official from Finance Ministry, as reported on Monday (15/1).

Throughout 2017, the non-tax revenue from the mineral and coal sector reached Rp40.6 trillion (US$2.84 billion), surpassing the full-year target of Rp32.7 trillion. The increase in coal production has played a role in boosting the government’s collection of revenues.

Indonesian regional and central government officials on Friday signed an agreement with state holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) that lays the foundation for the transfer of Freeport McMoRan giant Grasberg copper mine to local control.

Currently, the government has extended Freeport’s permit until June 30, to allow the miner to continue exporting copper concentrate while company representatives and government officials pursue intensive discussions around Freeport’s future operations in the country (started in early 2017). A previous extension on the permit was to expire on January 10.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that the negotiations, focused on contract extension, divestment, smelter construction and fiscal and legal obligations, are nearly complete. Thus, Freeport is expected to receive a permanent permit before the June deadline.

The whole process began early last year because of building public rage over foreign ownership of the Grasberg copper-gold mine, Indonesia’s biggest copper asset. Following the people’s outburst, President Joko Widodo made it his mission to push mining companies to divest majority stakes if they intended to continue operating in the country.

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