The Indonesian arm of Newmont Mining, PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (PTNNT), has exported the first consignment of copper concentrate this week, ending a nine-month impasse in the country.

The company exported 30,000t in the first consignment.

The dispute between the company and the Indonesian Government began in January when a ban was imposed on copper ore export and a progressive tax was introduced on concentrates, to make the mining companies build smelters and processing plants within the country.

The restrictions on copper export forced the company to halt operations at the Batu Hijau mine in June.

The dispute was resolved last week with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), wherein PTNNT agreed on six areas including concession area size; royalties, taxes and export duties; domestic processing and refining; ownership divestment; utilisation of local manpower, domestic goods and services; and duration of the contract of work (CoW).

PTNNT agreed to pay an export tax of 7.5% on copper concentrates, on lines with the rate accepted by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold in early August.

"We appreciate the government working with PTNNT to finalise the MoU and issue the export permit."

PTNNT president and director Martiono Hadianto said: "For the more than 8,000 employees and contractors at Batu Hijau and their families, the resumption of operations marks an important milestone in restoring their livelihoods, as well as supporting the economy of the Sumbawa Barat region.

"We want to thank all of our employees for their continued support and patience during this difficult period, and we appreciate the government working with PTNNT to finalise the MoU and issue the export permit."

According to the International Copper Study Group, the global refined copper market has reduced from a surplus of 139,000t in the first six months of last year to a deficit of 526,000t during the same period this year.

With both Freeport and PTNNT starting exports of copper concentrates, Japan-based copper smelter Pan Pacific Copper is planning to increase the processing fee by more than 9% in 2015 from $92 a tonne or 9.2 cents per pound in 2013.

Image: The Batu Hijau mine is located at Sumbawa in West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. Photo: courtesy of Randi Ang.