Tsingshan to finance bulk of $2.8 bln Indonesia copper smelter with Freeport - official

JAKARTA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoRan Inc may only have to finance 7.5% of the $2.8 billion dollar copper smelter it is building with China’s Tsingshan Holding group in Indonesia’s Weda Bay, a senior government official said on Friday.

Indonesia announced on Wednesday that Tsingshan and Freeport were close to reaching the $2.8 billion deal. The smelter could produce copper pipes and wires with an output value of $10 billion, a senior minister said without specifying a timeline.

“The target is to conclude (negotiations) by the end of March,” Indonesia’s deputy head for investment and mining coordination, Septian Hario Seto, told reporters on Friday.

“Most of the financing will be borne by Tsingshan ... as a as of now, Freeport may only need to provide funding for 7.5% of the total project cost,” he said, adding that the smelter would have a copper concentrate input capacity of 2.4 million tonnes.

Tsingshan could not be immediately reached for comment, while a spokesman for Freeport’s Indonesian unit said the matter was “still under discussion”.

In June last year, Indonesia’s minister of maritime affairs and investment said the government had requested that Freeport construct a copper smelter in Weda Bay located in North Maluku in eastern Indonesia, as it seeks to build an integrated smelting hub there. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Martin Petty)