Freeport`s status change must ensure better state revenues: Minister

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A change in the gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesias status from a contract of work into a special mining permit must ensure higher state revenues, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated.

"The law on mineral and coal stipulates that any form of cooperation between the government and entrepreneurs must ensure better revenues for the government," she noted here on Monday.

Certainty regarding better government revenues is deemed necessary to serve the nations interests, as they will help to spur economic development in regions and reduce disparities, the minister explained.

"The revenues have several dimensions. They may come from taxes, royalties, property taxes, and other contributions. As part of its obligation, the company (PT Freeport) must divest (its shares to the country) and build a smelter," Indrawati revealed.

On the other hand, the government must offer business certainty, ensure the absence of obstacles to provide a conducive investment climate, and deal with uncertainties regarding prospects for the Indonesian economy, she stated.

"We also need to offer certainty to entrepreneurs, so they can formulate plans. Since they are publicly listed companies, they must be accountable to shareholders," the minister noted.

PT Freeport earlier said it had not reached an agreement with the Indonesian government on a change in its status from a contract of work, which has been in place for five decades now, to a special mining permit.

"We are still waiting for a temporary special mining permit to export (our products). However, the government has not issued the permit," spokesman for PT Freeport Indonesia Riza Pratama had remarked after a hearing with the House of Representatives at the parliamentary building, last Thursday (Feb 9).(*)