US mining giant Newmont has reached a tentative agreement with the Indonesian government that should allow it to resume exports after they were halted due to controversial restrictions on mineral shipments, reports said Wednesday.
The company stopped exporting copper from its huge Batu Hijau mine in central Indonesia in January when Southeast Asia's top economy introduced the new regulations.
They include a ban on exports of some unprocessed minerals, and higher taxes on others that can still be shipped out of the country, and are an example of recent economic policies dubbed "resource nationalism" by critics.
Copper concentrate, a partially processed product that is a major export for Newmont and its US peer Freeport-McMoRan, was exempt from the ban but the companies still faced paying the new, higher taxes on shipments.
However Newmont refused, saying that the levies conflict with its original agreements to operate in Indonesia, and stopped exports.
In June it ceased production at Batu Hijau after its stores filled up, and a month later filed an international arbitration claim against Jakarta over the regulations.
However late last month it dropped the claim after a breakthrough in talks and late Tuesday reached a tentative deal that should soon allow it to resume exports, reports said.
"We have reached an agreement with the government," the head of Newmont's Indonesian unit, Martiono Hadianto, was cited as saying in the Jakarta Post daily.
He said that once a letter relating to exports was filed with the trade ministry, Newmont would be able to resume shipments.
R. Sukhyar, the energy ministry's director general of minerals and coal, told Dow Jones Newswires that a deal had been reached and said the company had agreed to pay higher export taxes and royalties.
Freeport-McMoRan also halted exports from Indonesia after locking horns with the government over the new regulations but resumed shipments last month after striking a new deal.