(Adds comment from Freeport official)
JAKARTA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Indonesia is considering allowing miners to negotiate an extension of their operating permits five years before expiry, rather than two years currently, the energy and mining minister said on Thursday.
“The negotiation for the extension may not be two years, perhaps it can be five years before the contracts end,” Ignasius Jonan told reporters. “This will apply for everyone.”
Under current regulations, U.S miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc , whose contract in Indonesia ends in 2021, can only start negotiating an extension in 2019.
Freeport welcomed the news and will cooperate with the government, said its Indonesia spokesman, Riza Pratama. The spokesman said the company could not give more details until the regulation is implemented. (Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe; Writing by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Richard Pullin and Kenneth Maxwell)