MINING CONTRACTSJAKARTA, Indonesia - The Indonesian government has announced a fresh round of 38 mining contracts that will allow foreign companies to develop gold, silver, nickel and diamond deposits in this sprawling mineral-rich archipelago.
''The event is a strong signal that Indonesia is open to foreign participation in this important sector,'' said Gary Smith, Canada's ambassador to Indonesia.
''Of the 38 contracts, 15 directly involve Canadian mining and exploration interests,'' he said in a statement last week.
The proposals have been carefully evaluated to avoid any repeat of last year's fiasco involving Canada's Bre-X Minerals.
Bre-X claimed the gold find of the century in Indonesia, but it turned out to be a costly fraud.
OIL PRICES FALL AFTER
IRAQ DEAL IS ANNOUNCED
SINGAPORE - Crude oil futures prices in Asia dropped sharply on Monday after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reached an agreement with Iraq over weapons inspections.
The news further defused tensions in oil markets after worries the United States was close to leading a military strike against Iraq to resolve the standoff.
But for a market fighting global oversupply, the one remaining bullish factor could now be eroded.
''This market is fundamentally weak, and the Iraq situation had been the only thing supporting prices,'' said Doug Stetzer, a broker with E.D. & F. Man in New York.
JAPAN CONSIDERS REVAMP
OF COMMODITIES TRADING
TOKYO - The Japanese government has decided to submit to the current Diet session a bill that would revise the commodity exchange law to stimulate trading on domestic exchanges, which have fewer listed products and are less active than foreign exchanges, Kyodo News Service reported.
The bill, subject to Cabinet approval for submission today, is expected to come into force April 1, 1999, if passed by the Diet.