TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Department of Energy and Mineral Resources has asked that three gold and copper mining companies increase production.
The three companies are PT Freeport Indonesia, PT Inco and Newmont Batu Hijau.
According to Marpaung, Director of Mineral and Coal Exploitation Management at the Department of Energy, the request was based on the state budget working plan at the beginning of January.
“Gold, nickel, copper and coal prices are increasing,” he told Tempo yesterday (01/24).
Gold prices are between US$550 and US$600 per ounce, while copper prices are around US$3.1 per pound.
Marpaung has compared these to last year when copper prices averaged US$2.8 per pound and gold between US$425 and US$430 per ounce.
He went on to say that Freeport’s capacity is 300,000 tons of concentrate per day but it is currently only producing an average of 240,000 tons of concentrate per day.
“What is most important is that produces the maximum that it can, raising production up to 300,000 tons per day if it can,” said Marpaung.
He explained that Freeport was currently examining the request using by considering investing in equipment to double up production, as well as environmental and job safety factors.
“This request has been delivered to Freeport and the company has agreed to increase its production,” said Marpaung.
Spokesperson for Freeport Indonesia Mindo Pangaribuan told Tempo that Freeport has always attempted to improve its performance in terms of production.
He acknowledged of still being uninformed about the said request from the government.
“I cannot comment on matters that are still being discussed with the government,” said Mindo.