Indonesia starts to build world's largest copper smelter

President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo attends the groundbreaking ceremony for Freeport Indonesia's copper smelter in Gresik, East Java, on Oct. 12, 2021.(BPMI Setpres/Lukas)

JAKARTA (Xinhua): Indonesia will have the world's largest smelter with a capacity of 1.7 million tonnes of copper concentrate per year, President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday (Oct 12).

The groundbreaking for the construction of the smelter owned by PT Freeport Indonesia with a single line design was carried out Tuesday on an area of 103 hectares in the Java Integrated Industrial and Port Estate in East Java province's district of Gresik.

"The smelter to be built is the largest in the world because it is capable of processing 1.7 million tonnes of copper concentrate or 480,000 tonnes of copper metal per year. This is huge," Widodo told a press conference.

The construction of the domestic smelter is Indonesia's strategic policy to strengthen the downstream industry in the cooper sector after the state-owned company took over 51 per cent of PT Freeport's shares, Widodo said.

Indonesia is one of the seven countries with the world's largest copper reserves, Widodo added.

Indonesian State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said that the construction of the smelter with an investment value of US$3 billion can also purify other precious metals such as silver and gold.

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