The government has drafted options on the future of Inalum. One is to take over the aluminum producer when its contract ends in 2013, and the other is to revise the contract to ensure that the project would not only benefit the Japanese investors but also be more beneficial to Indonesia. It is reported that Indonesia seeks a better deal.

It has set up a technical team to look at all options and it would meet the government of Japan in April. According to Mustafa, the technical team is also considering another option to involve the state-owned mining firm Antam alongside Inalum to balance Indonesia's position in the joint venture if the government were to extend the contract.

So far, Inalum only sells 100kt/y to the domestic market, out of the 250kt of ingots produced per year. The remaining production is exported to Japan. The installation was built in 1975 at Asahan, North Sumatra, and opened in 1977.

Inalum is 60% controlled by Nippon Asahan Aluminum (NAA) - a consortium of seven Japanese multinational companies, while the rest of the stake is owned by the government of Indonesia. Inalum's assets are now estimated to be worth more than $2bn.

Source: ‘Jakarta Post’, Jakarta; 2 Mar 2010