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Copper giant Freeport to handle Asian sales from Indonesia

By Julian Luk and Mai Nguyen

Feb 6 (Reuters) - U.S. copper miner Freeport McMoRan said its Asian sales will be handled from Indonesia, home to its flagship Grasberg copper-gold mine and Manyar smelter.

Helmut Arbert, formerly with Chilean state miner Codelco and Anglo American, has recently been hired by Freeport's Indonesian arm as head of international sales and will be based in Jakarta.

"PT Freeport Indonesia is localizing all sales and marketing activities, including the sales operations and logistics teams as well as the sales and marketing group in Indonesia," Freeport's company spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Monday.

Freeport recently dropped its search for a senior executive in Singapore, as well as its plan to build a sales team in the Asian commodity trading hub after cost evaluations, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Construction of Freeport's Manyar smelter will be complete in May to process ores from Grasberg. It could produce 600,000 tonnes of copper cathodes per year after ramp-up.

Its copper sales volume is expected to hit 1.9 million tonnes in 2024, the U.S. miner said in its quarterly statement last month. It sold 1.85 million tonnes of copper in 2023.

Major copper miners including BHP, Anglo American, Codelco have sales team based in Singapore and proximity to China, the world's top copper buyer. (Reporting by Julian Luk in London and Mai Nguyen in Hanoi; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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