"It is true. It (the extension) will open more discussion, which has yet to find any solution," Bambang Gatot stated here on Thursday.
The eight-month extension would be effective from the issuance of regulation that changes the Contract of Work (CoW) into a special mining business license (IUPK).
On Feb 17, Freeport warned that negotiations should conclude within a 120-day period or the company would bring the case to an international arbitration.
However, the US-based mining company sought an extension of the negotiation for six months and then changed it to an eight-month extension.
Earlier in the day, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan conveyed the latest development in the Freeport saga to the Commission VII of the House of Representatives.
"The point is that the discussion process with the government, which is divided into three stages, has reached its final stage," Jonan stated before legislators of the commission.
First, it discussed PT Freeport Indonesias obligation to adopt the conversion of its CoW agreement into IUPK before extending its export permit. PTFI has agreed to the conversion.
Second, it discussed the companys requirement regarding tax regulation and local retribution. According to Jonan, it would be the Finance Ministrys authority to take a decision on the issue.
The minister noted that the third phase of discussion focused on its workers.
Of the total 12 thousand workers, PT Freeport Indonesia has laid off 522 workers and fired 29 others, Jonan revealed.(*)