Freeport Indonesia opens $3.7bn copper smelter in Gresik

Copper mining company Freeport Indonesia has commissioned its £3.7bn Gresik copper smelter in East Java, reported Reuters. The smelter is expected to meet the surging demand for copper essential for renewable energy technologies. Freeport Indonesia CEO Tony Wenas said the facility is expected to produce around 650,000 tonnes (t) of copper cathode and 50-60t of gold.

Expected to commence operations at half capacity by August 2024, the facility has an input capacity of 1.7 million tonnes of copper concentrate. The Gresik copper smelter is expected to achieve full capacity by December this year. This development aligns with Indonesia's policy to ban the export of all raw minerals from June 2023, although Freeport Indonesia and Amman Mineral Internasional have been granted an extension until 31 May 2024, to complete their smelters.

Wenas said: "Copper going forward will be very much needed by the world. Countries are racing to transition their energy sources to renewables and sustainable sources. This will need a lot of copper."

Both Freeport Indonesia and its rival have sought to extend their export permits until the end of 2024 to continue shipping copper concentrate while their smelters ramp up to full operation. In April 2023, Reuters reported that Indonesia's Minister of Investment[1], Bahlil Lahadalia, said that Freeport Indonesia was required to sell an additional 10% stake to the government. The announcement comes as the company, which is a subsidiary of US-based Freeport-McMoRan, started talks with the government over a permit extension to operate in the country.

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  1. ^ Indonesia's Minister of Investment (
  2. ^ Mining Technology (