3 Oct 2014

Protestors block Freeport mine following deaths

12:20 pm on 3 October 2014

Protesters have blocked Freeport-McMoRan's Indonesian copper mine for a second day on Thursday, stopping people getting to work, as talks continued between management and employees over the number of fatal accidents at the site.

Freeport Indonesia chief executive, Rozik Soetjipto, told Reuters the open-pit mine at Grasberg in Indonesia's Papua province, remains suspended after four workers were killed in a collision involving a truck on Saturday.

Indonesia's mining ministry has started an investigation into the accident at one of the world's biggest copper mines, which is expected to close open-pit mining for around a week.

Dr Soetjipto said management was meeting employees to find out what their demands were.

He also added that only open-pit mining, which accounts for more than half of total output, was closed at the Grasberg site

Freeport's 2013 annual report says thirty-five people died at the remote Papua complex last year, including 28 who died when a tunnel collapsed.

Meanwhile, at least one workers' union is not backing the latest blockade and protest.

A Papua-based Freeport union official, Virgo Solossa, said there was no justification for workers maintaining the protest since the government was now investigating.

Freeport mine, Indonesia, Papua

Freeport mine, Indonesia, Papua Photo: AFP