Indonesia: PT Smelting commits IDR3.2tr to expanding copper smelter

  • Copper refining company PT Smelting is slated to invest IDR3.2tr in the expansion project of a smelter in Gresik, East Java.
  • Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto and Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita inaugurated the project on 19 Feb 22. The expanded smelter is slated to begin commercial production in late 2023.
  • Irjuniawan P Radjamin, PT Smelting director of business and commercial development, said the expansion would increase the smelter’s processing capacity to 1.3 million tons of copper concentrate per year, up from the current 1 million tons.
  • The processing capacity upgrade is estimated to increase copper cathode production by 30 percent to 342,000 tons. Copper cathodes can be further processed into electrical wiring, pipes and car batteries, among other products.
  • PT Smelting began operations in 1996 with a copper cathode output of 200,000 tons. The company expanded capacity to 255,000 tons in 1999, then to 270,000 tons in 2001 and 300,000 tons in 2009.
  • The latest plan marks the company’s fourth expansion project. “The increase in production capacity will strengthen Indonesia’s [position] as one of the world’s biggest copper-producing countries,” he said.
  • He added that the funds would be used to add a new sulfuric acid plant, add more electrolysis cells in the refinery and increase equipment capacity in the smelter.
  • Smelter construction is part of the government’s larger scheme to foster downstreaming in extractive industries to grow the economy. To achieve this, regulators have permanently banned exports of nickel ore and plans to enact similar bans on bauxite and raw copper starting Jun 23.
  • PT Smelting, which operates a smelter, a refinery and a sulfuric acid plant, has been processing copper concentrate from gold and copper mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI). PTFI has a 39.5% stake in PT Smelting.
  • A majority of the shares are owned by Japanese metal manufacturer Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) with a 60.5% stake.

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