Freeport, Newmont said to agree in principle to Indonesia export tax

|By:, SA News Editor

Foreign copper miners in Indonesia have agreed in principle to pay an export tax, the country's deputy finance minister says, following talks aimed at restarting concentrate exports after a five-month halt.

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX +1.5%) and Newmont Mining (NEM +0.4%), which together account for 97% of Indonesia's copper output, had argued they should be exempt from the tax as introduced in January, which kicks in at 25% and rises to 60% in 2016 before a total concentrate export ban in 2017.

FCX CFO Kathleen Quirk tells an investor conference in Chicago today that the company expects to resume exports very soon and the export tax would be "significantly reduced."

Copper for July delivery, the most actively traded contract, suffers its biggest one-day drop since April as a resolution nears; also there are concerns that a probe of metals warehousing at a Chinese port could hurt demand if China clamps down on copper-based financing.