Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government has called on PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) to build a smelter near the Timika mine site, Papua, to ensure that the metal purification facility is not limited solely to Gresik, East Java.

"We asked Freeport to expand in Papua, not just in Gresik, so that the smelter can exist in Timika, Papua,” Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia remarked in the ministry’s YouTube live as monitored from here on Monday.

According to Lahadalia, if Freeport builds a smelter facility in Papua, then there will be an equal distribution of smelters from Freeport Indonesia.

The minister remarked that the government's request is in line with the plan to increase the number of shares owned by the Indonesian government in PTFI to 61 percent by 2041.

"We plan that once the regulation comes out, we will acquire more shares again by adding 10 percent. Now, we have 51 percent, (but) we want Indonesia to have the majority again. The negotiations have been completed, and Freeport agreed to add 10 percent shares (for the government) in 2041 and above," he elaborated.

Currently, PTFI has invested US$3 billion for the construction of a smelter in Gresik, East Java.

The smelter will start operating on July 1, 2024, with a production capacity of 60 tons of pure gold and 400 thousand tons of copper cathodes in a year.

"Starting July 1, the Freeport factory will process copper concentrate from Timika in Gresik. In one year, this factory will produce 60 tons of pure gold, 400 thousand tons of copper cathodes, and various other derivative products," he stated.

According to Lahadalia, the construction of the smelter and the divestment process of Freeport's shares are part of the government's downstream program and one of the investment strategies to create jobs in the future.

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Translator: Indra, Kenzu
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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