Mitsubishi, Freeport completes copper smelter expansion in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Indonesian copper smelter operator PT Smelting, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Minerals Corp and PT Freeport Indonesia, inaugurated on Thursday an expansion in capacity of its smelter facility in East Java.

The processing capacity was expanded to 1.3 million metric tons of copper concentrate, from 1 million tons previously. It was unclear when production at the expanded facility would commence.

The expansion was to meet demand for domestic processing of copper concentrates as Indonesia is set to ban exports of the raw material next year.

Combined with Freeport’s upcoming $3 billion smelter in another part of East Java, Indonesia will have smelting capacity of 3 million tonnes per year next year, said President Joko Widodo at the inauguration.

“This means value add will be created in Indonesia and new industries will emerge, such as for copper coil that is currently in development process,” Jokowi, as the president is known, said.

Development of processing industries for Indonesia’s natural resources is the main economic agenda for Jokowi, whose second term in office will end next year. (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy and Ananda Teresia Editing by Mark Potter)

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