MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Massive strike halts production at giant copper mine in Indonesia

Published by MAC on 2007-04-20


Massive strike halts production at giant copper mine in Indonesia

by Richard Bowden, All Headline News

20th April 2007

Timika, West Papua (AHN) - Production at the giant Freeport-McMoRan copper mine in Papua has been severely disrupted following three days of protests by workers demonstrating in favor of better working conditions.

Though the company has criticized the strike, calling it illegal, some progress has been made in negotiations says Papuan Workers Union spokesperson Betty Ibo to the AFP news agency.

"We have reached agreement on several of the main issues," said Ms Ibo.

However another leader of the strike Frans Pigome, whose group Tongi Papua represents workers at the talks said he was disappointed at the lack of progress.

"The decision, [made] yesterday after our talks failed to yield results, was to hold a teleconference meeting with [Freeport chief executive] James Moffet at 9:00 am today," said Frans Pigome to the AFP news agency. Mr Pigome's group Tongi Papua represents workers at the talks.

"But it is now past noon and nothing has happened and no explanations have been given,' Pigome said.
Several thousand miners had gathered in a peaceful protest at Kuala Kencana, site of the headquarters of PT Freeport Indonesia, which operates the mine, just outside the town of Timika.

Local residents say the mine pollutes the local environment and Indonesian military protection of the mine has resulted in many human rights abuses - a claim the U.S.- based company denies.

 

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