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Freeport Indonesia breaks ground on $3 billion copper smelter

Christian Fernsby |
Freeport McMoRan broke ground on Tuesday in construction of one of the world's biggest copper smelters near its existing refining operations in Indonesia.

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The US$3 billion facility in Gresik, East Java, will have capacity of 1.7 million tonnes of copper concentrate and is expected to start operations in late 2023 or early 2024.

"The smelter is built with a single line design, which is the largest in the world," Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo told a televised groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.

"I hope that Freeport Indonesia's presence in this special economic zone in Gresik will be an attraction for other industries to enter," he said.

The commencement follows months of deliberation between building a copper smelter in partnership with China's Tsingshan Holding Group in Weda Bay, or one near its existing operations in Gresik.

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