Newmont ships first copper from Indonesia in eight months

Newmont ships first copper from Indonesia in eight months

Aerial view of the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine.

US-based Newmont Mining Corp (NYSE:NEM) shipped its first 30,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from Indonesia this week that ended a nine-month hiatus, highlighting a ramp up in copper mine supply that is expected to tip the market into surplus before the end of the year.

Like many miners in Indonesia, Newmont's local unit, PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, ceased exporting in January when a new rule took effect banning the export of unrefined minerals and opening the way to new export taxes for semi-refined minerals and concentrate.

The company declared force majeure on existing contracts in June, then filed for international arbitration in July, saying the new export taxes accompanying the rules ran against its long-term contract.

The Colorado-based miner withdrew that case in August, citing advances in negotiations with the government.

Newmont is the world's third-largest gold producer by market value, with major operations in several countries. In Indonesia, it runs the Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in Sumbawa Island.

The country's largest producer, Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX), resumed shipments in early August after it agreed with the government on an initial road map for building processing capability in the country.

The company’s open-pit mine is facing a weeklong suspension as an investigation takes place into a fatal mining accident at the weekend. But traders said they expected Freeport to continue shipping concentrate from its stockpiles.