UPDATE: Freeport-McMoRan Finalizes Deal with Indonesia
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE:FCX) has put the finishing touches on a new contract with the Government of Indonesia to resume mineral concentrate exports. After six months of disparity, the US miner can recommence operations and exports within two week of the signing.
“We are pleased to report the resumption of normal operations and the completion of an MOU to enable continuing benefits of the Grasberg operations for the Government, the local communities in Papua, our large Indonesian workforce and our shareholders. We value our long-term partnership with the Indonesian government and look forward to continuing success of the Grasberg operation,” said Richard Adkerson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Freeport.
The deal calls for Freeport to increase royalties on gold and copper, commit to smelter development and pay export duties on concentrate exports.
According to Director General of Coal and Mineral Resources Sukhyar, Freeport will provide a $115 assurance bond in its commitment to building a smelter. The increase in royalty payments will go up half a percent for copper and almost three percent for gold.
The agreement also includes a mineral export tax on concentrates of copper, iron, zinc, and manganese. Linked to the progress of a smelter, the tax will begin at 20 percent and rise all the way to 60 percent until a complete ban on exports is imposed. The government said it would consider lowering the rates for companies that commit funds for new smelter
Freeport will pay a 7.5 percent tax on copper exports until one-third of its smelter plant is completed. The company is estimated to export more than 750,000 tons of concentrate, valued at $1.56 billion.
The company plans to make a $7.1 billion investment in the Grasberg Mine if the government of Indonesia extends its contract by 20 years. The mine is the world’s largest gold mine and third largest copper mine.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.