Freeport Indonesia launches $3.7bn Gresik copper smelter

JAKARTA - Copper and gold miner Freeport Indonesia on Thursday launched its £3.7-billion copper smelter in Gresik, East Java, that has a total input capacity of 1.7-million metric tons of copper concentrate. The smelter's output capacity will reach around 650 000 t of copper cathode and 50 t to 60 t of gold, said Tony Wenas, CEO of Freeport Indonesia, majority owned by the Indonesian government but operated by US mining giant Freeport McMoran. The facility is expected to produce its first copper cathode in August, Wenas said.

Attending the launch, Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia asked Freeport to build another copper smelter in the country's eastern region of Papua, near its Grasberg copper mine.

Wenas told a press conference that such an investment request was timely given the government wants to develop an ecosystem to produce electric vehicles.