Gresik, East Java. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for a giant smelter belonging to copper and gold mining firm Freeport Indonesia in the East Java town of Gresik.
The smelter is built on 103-hectare land at the Manyar Special Economic Zone at a cost of $3 billion, according to government data.
Jokowi said the smelter will be able to extract 1.7 tons of copper from ores and 6,000 tons of gold annually.
“The single-line smelter we are going to build will be the biggest in the world because it has a capacity of extracting 1.7 tons of copper a year,” the president said in a ceremony to mark the start of the construction.
He added Indonesia has the seventh biggest copper reserves in the world after Chile, Australia, Peru, Russia, Mexico, and the United States.
“Only a few of us have knowledge about this,” he said.
Jokowi went on to say that despite having mines and mineral reserves, Indonesia cannot reap the fullest benefit in the metal industry due to a lack of processing facilities, in comparison to countries like Japan and Spain who have higher value-added in their manufacturing process.
“That’s why we build the Freeport smelter here in Gresik,” the president said.
The Indonesian government has a 51 percent stake in the local unit of US mining giant Freeport McMoRan.
The construction stage alone is expected to create 40,000 jobs for locals, Jokowi said.
State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said Freeport Indonesia has been performing well since the government secured a commanding stake on Dec. 21, 2018.
Freeport’s revenues are estimated to more than double from Rp 50 trillion last year, Erick said.
Soaring global copper prices and increased output in Indonesia will add the pace to the company’s growth, he added.
“The company booked a net profit of approximately Rp 10 trillion last year and we expect the figures to reach Rp 40 trillion by the end of this year,” Erick said.