Newmont drops claim against Indonesia

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JAKARTA: US mining giant Newmont said it has withdrawn an international arbitration claim against Indonesia over a controversial mineral ore export ban after a breakthrough in talks with the government.

Last month, Newmont announced it was seeking a ruling at the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes to allow it to resume exports of copper from its huge mine in central Indonesia.

But the company announced it was withdrawing the arbitration filing, saying it hoped the move would help it strike a deal with the government.
“The decision to discontinue and withdraw arbitration comes after commitments from senior government officials,” said Newmont’s Indonesian unit in a statement late Tuesday.

It added the officials had pledged to open “formal negotiations” on a new agreement with Newmont that would allow it to resume work at its Batu Hijau mine, on condition the legal action was withdrawn.

Exports from Batu Hijau have been halted since January, when  Indonesia introduced a ban on shipments of some unprocessed minerals. It is one of a raft of economic policies that are pushed by politicians who argue that Indonesia is losing out by allowing foreign firms easy access to lucrative industries. — AFP

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Aug 28, 2014.