Jakarta (ANTARA) - PT Freeport Indonesia confirmed it was deliberating to get a loan to fund the construction of a smelter or purification facility in Gresik, East Java.

PT Freeport Indonesia President Director Tony Wenas stated in Jakarta, Wednesday, that the mining company required US$3 billion for the construction of a smelter.

"It is still under discussion, but many have shown interest. Possibly, 15 foreign and national banks are interested," Wenas explained.

Though not explicitly divulging details on the part of the loan to be sought, Tony is optimistic that the loan will be liquid this year. The company is eyeing to start the construction of copper concentrate smelters in early 2020.

"We are in talks with the bank. We are in discussion about the form (loan) and amount. The details are yet under discussion," Wenas revealed.

Wenas expounded that presently, land preparation for the construction of smelters is ongoing.

Currently, his side is installing prefabricated vertical drain to compact the soil on the land to be used.

"Hence, it is not reclamation, but it is compacted. It is a large-scale construction, so it must be ensured that the land is really firm," he explained.

The smelter is located at Java Integrated Industrial and Port Estate (JIIPE) in Gresik, East Java Province.

Construction of the smelter is one of the things that the government has pushed for in the divestment agreement in 2018. Freeport has five years to build a smelter since the Production Operation IUPK was issued, which is before 2023. EDITED BY INE

Translator: Eliswan Azly
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019