27 May 2013

Freeport says Grasberg's copper can last days

7:16 am on 27 May 2013

The US mining company Freeport-McMoRan says that despite the fatal tunnel collapse at its Grasberg gold and copper mine in Indonesia's Papua province, it can supply customers for a "number of days" from stockpiles.

Operations at the mine were suspended following the collapse of the tunnel in a training facility almost two weeks ago.

28 workers were killed when 200 cubic metres of material crashed into a classroom during a training session.

Bloomberg quotes the Freeport Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson as saying the company's production facilities are not affected by the accident, so it's just a matter of being prepared to start operations.

Mr Adkerson says it's too early to say how long a probe into the accident will take.

The halt at the world's third largest copper mine threatens to curb the availability of the metal, one month after the Rio Tinto Group suspended its Bingham Canyon mine in Utah following a landslide.