PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (PT NNT) is hoping that Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo’s successor will resolve its divestment problems and clear the way for an initial public offering (IPO).
“Since the key is in the hand of the finance minister, we hope the new minister will be capable of solving the matter,” NNT president director Martiono Hadianto said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
“As soon as the divestment issue is settled, we can continue with our IPO plan.”
The matter Martiono was referring to was the divestment of the remaining 7 percent stake of NNT, which operates the Batu Hijau gold and copper mine in West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to soon announce a replacement for Agus, who was recently confirmed by the House of Representatives as the next governor of Bank Indonesia, replacing Darmin Nasution.
Agus, much like his widely praised predecessor Sri Mulyani Indrawati, has frequently been at odds with lawmakers on the divestment, insisting that the government must take over the 7 percent stake.
Lawmakers, on the other hand, have said that the shares should go to local administrations in NTB.
Under the terms of a contract signed in 1986, the company’s foreign shareholders — American mining giant Newmont Mining Corp. and Sumitomo of Japan — must divest 51 percent of their shares in NNT to local investors after five years of commercial operation.
The firms have divested 24 percent of their shares to PT Multi Daerah Bersaing, a joint venture of PT Multicapital, a business unit of coal giant PT Bumi Resources, which is itself partially controlled by the politically wired Bakrie family and several local administrations.
While divestment of the final 7 percent was scheduled for 2010, the disagreement between the government and lawmakers has prevented progress.
Martiono said that NNT expected the incoming finance minister to settle the dispute to speed the firm’s IPO and help finance business expansion.
“The IPO plan is inevitable, since the NNT is currently planning to expand its mining area to the Elang site, [in Ropang, West Sumbawa].” he said.
At least 25,000 hectares of the Elang mining area is set to be explored in search of new copper and gold reserves.
NNT, according to Martiono, did not need to go public when it first developed the Batu Hijau site since Newmont and Sumitomo held an 80 percent stake in the business unit.