Xinhua reported that Indonesia’s shipment of copper ores from Grasberg mine, the world’s second largest copper mine, will drop significantly this year due to lagging of production for shifting of operation to underground from open pit mining. Mr Yunus Saefulhak of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said that exports of copper ores from the mine are estimated to drop to 200,000 tonnes this year, from 1.2 million tonnes last year.

According to the official, growing domestic demand also contributed to the downshift. This year a total of 1 million tonnes of copper ores will be used for domestic use, up from 800,000 tonnes last year,

Grasberg mine, situated in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province, is also the world’s largest gold mine and has been taken over by Indonesia’s state-owned PT Asahan Aluminum since December 21 from US giant Freeport McMorant after the US operation since 1973.

The official said that production of copper ores from the mine is forecast to drop to 1.2 million tonnes this year from 2.1 million tonnes last year.

Mr Yunus said that „Outputs of ores this year will ratchet down due to the transition from open pit mining to underground mining.”