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Mitsubishi Materials, Freeport Indonesia expand copper smelter capacity

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JAKARTA, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia's PT Smelting, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Materials Corp and Freeport Indonesia, on Saturday launched construction of a 3.2 trillion rupiah ($223 million) expansion of its East Java copper smelting facility.

The expansion will increase output capacity at the plant to 342,000 tonnes of copper cathode from 300,000 tonnes currently, the company said in a statement.

"The expansion is targeted to be completed before the end of December 2023," said Irjuniawan Radjamin, a PT Smelting director.

PT Smelting processes copper concentrate produced by Freeport Indonesia, a unit of Freeport-McMoRan, from the Grasberg mine in Indonesia's Papua region.

The expansion will boost input capacity at the plant to 1.3 million tonnes copper concentrate from 1 million tonnes at present, the statement said.

Resource-rich Indonesia is keen to develop its downstream metal industry to boost investment and create jobs, with President Joko Widodo saying the government plans to ban exports of raw materials to encourage such investments.

($1 = 14,325.0000 rupiah) (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Richard Pullin)