STATE-OWNED mining company PT Aneka Tambang, or Antam, has announced a new gold-prospecting and extraction partnership with Australia’s Newcrest Mining. The companies will share technical and legal resources exploring mines across Indonesia, including in East Java, North Sulawesi and South Sumatra.

Antam is keen to boost production from its own mines for profitability and believes Newcrest, which already has a joint investment with Antam in the Gosowong Gold-Silver Project in North Maluku, has the expertise to bring this to fruition.

Antam president Tedy Badrujaman said the cooperation was intended to benefit Antam’s gold portfolio and business expansion.

Antam moved to strengthen its gold business after the Indonesian government banned nickel ore exports in 2014, pushing the company to a net loss for the year. In the first nine months of 2015 Antam sold 12,648kg of gold which generated more than 70% of its consolidated revenue. However, the company only produced about 1700kg from its mines in West Java and Banten with the bulk of sales sourced from third parties.

Antam also recently formed a strategic partnership with PT Bank Maybank Indonesia which involves a US$100 million financing facility. Antam will use the facility to support the development of its Pomalaa Ferronickel Plant Expansion Project in Southeast Sulawesi as well as to support financing of general capital expenditure and corporate purposes.

The expansion of the ferronickel plant aims to increase Antam’s annual ferronickel production capacity from 18,000-20,000 tonnes of nickel contained in ferronickel to 27,000-30,000 tonnes. The project also aims to increase the efficiency of the smelter and includes development of a 2x30MW coal-fired power plant.

The financing facility is based on the Musyarakah Sharia principle and has a 10-year term with payment of profit-loss sharing every three months based on agreed arrangements. The facility financing received from Maybank Indonesia sufficiently covers the requirements of funding for the expansion project. As of end of November 2015, the EPC progress of the project had reached 98.36%.

Antam has also signed an MoU with Aluminium Corporation of China to develop a smelter-grade alumina refinery in Mempawah, West Kalimantan. The agreement will rejuvenate the $1.8 billion project which has been on the back burner since the end of 2014 due to funding difficulties.

The smelter will consume 6 million wet metric tonnes of bauxite ore annually from the company’s nearby Mempawah mine and have the capability to produce 2 million tonnes of alumina a year.