Freeport McMoRan's Indonesian unit is close to reaching a deal that would allow the world's biggest publicly listed copper producer to temporarily resume concentrate exports, Indonesia's mining minister said on Thursday.
The news boosted Freeport's stock more than 6 percent as it is a marked shift in tone from the Southeast Asian nation, which banned miners from shipping copper concentrate on Jan. 12 as part of a hard line push to develop its local smelter industry and boost domestic benefits from mining.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said a new deal would allow Freeport to resume exports for the next six months from Grasberg, the world's second-biggest copper mine, while a new permit is negotiated.
"Freeport Indonesia has entered the final stage of discussions," Jonan told parliament, adding the finance ministry will oversee talks, focusing on a "nailed down" tax rate and guarantees fiscal terms will not change.
"If they agree on the special mining permit, they can export, as long as they put forward a proposal to develop a smelter within five years," Jonan said, adding Freeport agreed to adopt the new permit in principle.
Freeport stock climbed 6.1 percent to $13.50 in New York afternoon trading.
Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport said it was progressing "constructive discussions" that would allow it to resume exports, while retaining its current contract until there is agreement on a new permit.