US Mining Giant Chief in Indonesia Resigns Amid Uncertainty
A Freeport-McMoRan building in Phoenix.
Image Credit: Flickr/Nick Bastian

US Mining Giant Chief in Indonesia Resigns Amid Uncertainty

 
 

The head of the Indonesian subsidiary of U.S. mining giant Freeport Mc-MoRan resigned Monday after just a year in office, the firm confirmed this week.

Maroef Sjamsuddin, the president director of Freeport Indonesia who took office in early January last year, tendered his resignation January 18, declining the extension on his one-year contract with the firm.

“It is correct that he has resigned,” Freeport Indonesia spokesperson Riza Pratama confirmed in an email to The Jakarta Post while declining to elaborate on the reasons for the resignation.

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Sjamsuddin’s resignation comes after a tumultuous year for Freeport, which operates one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines in Indonesia’s far-eastern Papua region and has been in negotiations with the government to renegotiate the terms of its presence in the country. Sjamsuddin himself had testified in hearings late last year following a major political scandal in which former House speaker Setya Novanto had allegedly demanded shares from Freeport in exchange for helping the company secure an extension of its contract due to expire in 2021.

Apart from the prolonged renegotiation over the firm’s contract of work, Freeport is also currently in the process of resolving other issues with the Indonesian government including a further extension on its export permit.

Sjamsuddin’s resignation also comes just weeks after Freeport’s influential executive chairman and co-founder James R. Moffett stepped down. Moffet had long played a significant role in negotiations between the company and the Indonesian government, with key relationships with senior officials and experience spanning decades.

In an internal memo sent to Freeport Indonesia employees dated January 18, Freeport’s president Richard C. Adkerson said that Robert Schroeder, who currently serves as director and executive vice president, would temporarily take over Sjamsuddin’s responsibilities while the search for a replacement is underway.

Before assuming his position at Freeport, Sjamsuddin, had served as a vice air marshal in the Indonesian Air Force prior to his retirement and also as the deputy head of the State Intelligence Agency from 2011 to 2014.

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