Freeport may have to cut Grasberg output by 40%

Freeport may have to cut output from Grasberg up to 40%

Grasberg is the world's largest gold and second-largest copper mine.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) is reportedly trying to get permission from the Indonesian government to keep exporting copper concentrate from its flagship Grasberg mine, as it will have to slash output to 30 to 40% of the maximum if a ban is imposed.

The Arizona-based company, Bloomberg reports, would need to lay off about 30,000 employees and dozens of contractors if it is not allowed to ship concentrates from the country any longer.

Indonesia's proposed ban on export shipments of unprocessed metals is set to come into effect on January 12 and mining companies operating in the country are forecasting disaster if the government implements it in full.

With a population of 240 million, the nation is the world’s premier thermal coal exporter, a nickel, bauxite and tin powerhouse and is also rich in gold and copper.

In October, quoted Garibaldi Thohir, a vice-chairman of Indonesia' chamber of commerce (Kadin) and chief executive of Adaro, the country’s number two producer of thermal coal for power stations as saying: "If the government implements a full ban, the whole industry will collapse."

Production at Grasberg, the world's largest gold and second-largest copper mine with a history that dates back to the 1930s, was halted for about two months in spring as the Indonesian government conducted an investigation into several accidents at the mine. The most infamous of them was a tunnel collapse that killed 28 at the copper, gold and silvers mine.

Freeport's current contract to operate Grasberg in the Papua province expires in 2021.

Image courtesy of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania