Newmont to use dual approach to restart Indonesia mine exports-CEO

Reuters

(Recasts; adds fresh quotes from CEO, background)

By Nicole Mordant

July 30 (Reuters) - Newmont Mining Corp will stick to a "parallel path" of arbitration and negotiation with the government of Indonesia in an attempt to resolve an impasse over copper concentrate exports, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday.

The U.S.-based miner, which operates the Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia, said its revised production outlook assumes receiving an export permit by January 2015, a full year after exports were halted.

"We're confident in our arbitration case. Otherwise, we wouldn't have filed it," Newmont CEO Gary Goldberg said, speaking on a conference call to discuss the gold and copper producer's results and plans to develop a new gold mine.

"But we are really interested in finding a negotiated solution with the government and want to continue down this parallel path to resolve it as soon as possible," he said.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc, the biggest copper miner in Indonesia, clinched a deal with the government last Friday allowing it to resume copper concentrate exports from the Southeast Asian country.

Newmont last week said it is negotiating an agreement to restart exports, but an Indonesian official denied any talks had taken place.

The international arbitration filing by the Denver, Colorado-based miner has angered the Indonesian government.

Exports of concentrate were halted in January when the government announced a sharp rise in export taxes, part of its drive to force miners to build smelters and processing plants in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Newmont halted production on June 5, saying its concentrate storage facilities were full.

Goldberg said Newmont hopes to restart talks next week after a break due to religious holidays this week in Indonesia.

Newmont is seeking interim relief from arbitrators so it can resume production, but estimates such a ruling could take several months, Goldberg said. Once received, a ramp up to full production would take several weeks.

Newmont raised its gold production forecast for this year by 2 percent to between 4.7 million and 5 million ounces and trimmed its costs applicable to sales forecast by 3 percent to a range of $720 per ounce to $760 an ounce.

The miner also said late on Tuesday it plans to invest around $1 billion in building a gold mine in Suriname.

(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver, editing by G Crosse)

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