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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indonesian Miner Wants Progress on RusAl Venture

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia wants to speed up a planned alumina joint venture between state miner Antam and Russia's United Company RusAl or it may seek a new partner, the country's investment board said on Wednesday.

Antam's board has been in talks with Norsk Hydro ASA about the possibility of working with them on the project if there is not sufficient progress with aluminum firm RusAl, said Muhammad Lutfi, the head of the investment board.

A feasibility study on the project to build an alumina plant in Tayan, West Kalimantan, began in late 2007, but there does not appear to have been much progress since. The project had been valued at about $1.4 billion but could require investment of as much as $4 billion, including related infrastructure.

"I have assigned one of my deputies and Antam's directors to check RusAl's commitment by the end of the month, and we should be able to have a definitive decision whether to continue or not by the end of the month," Lutfi told reporters on the sideline of a conference.

"If we decide to continue, the options and timeframe must be clear. If not, Antam must have a clear idea on what to do next."

The memorandum of understanding between RusAl and Antam expires this year, but the board wants to confirm progress on the project so they can make a decision as soon as possible, Lutfi said.

Separately, Bimo Satryo, a spokesman for Antam, said progress on the project had been slow but did not elaborate.

Antam, which has a stock market value of $2.5 billion, is involved in the exploration and production of nickel, bauxite, iron sands, gold and silver, as well as smelting ferronickel.