BONTANG, EAST KALIMANTAN: The government plans to build a copper processing center in Bontang, East Kalimantan, that will be completed by 2014, an official said on Thursday, Investor Daily reported.

Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry official Tatang Sabaruddin said Nusantara Smelter had agreed to build the center, which will have a processing capacity of 600,000 tons a year.

“Beyond copper, if there are smelting companies interested in building facilities for other commodities such as nickel, and iron, please do,” he said. “The essence is that Bontang can become a center for mineral processing.”

The smelter has already agreed to process copper produced by mining giant Freeport McMoRan and Newmont Nusa Tenggara, Tatang said at the Indonesia Energy and Coal Business Summit.

Freeport has expressed an interest in sending 58 percent of its copper ore to domestic smelters.