MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Papua: Further killings at world's biggest gold-copper mine

Published by MAC on 2012-01-16
Source: AFP, Jakarta Post, Reuters

Workers at Freeport- Rio Tinto's Grasberg mine in Papua have halted their gradual return to work, after unknown gunmen shot two contractors dead.

Previous articles on MAC: Australian mining company accused of assisting Papua human rights abuses
Papuan Miners End Strike against Freeport-Rio Tinto

Two Freeport contractors killed near Papua mine


9 January 2012

TEMBAGAPURA, Indonesia - Two contractors working for US company Freeport-McMoRan were found dead Monday near a giant gold-and-copper mine that has been hit by a strike and violence for months, the company said.

Ten people, all Indonesians, have now been killed around the mine in ambushes and in a clash with police since a strike that began in September at the company's Grasberg mine in restive Papua province.

The latest victims, who were found dead in a vehicle owned by the US company, had apparently been shot, said Ramdani Sirait, spokesman for the company's local subsidiary, Freeport Indonesia.

"At about 9:15am local time this morning, we received a report of an incident involving a light vehicle which has fatally injured two contractor employees," Sirait said in an email to AFP.

"Initial reports indicate that the vehicle appears to have been fired upon," he added, confirming that the two workers had died.

Police, who have blamed "unidentified gunmen" for some of the shootings, did not immediately comment on the latest incident.

A Freeport employee at the scene said the vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, had been flipped over and burnt.

In mid-December, Freeport Indonesia said that a three-month strike involving more than 8,000 workers and 1,600 contractors had been settled.

But on Friday the workers union said that several of Freeport's subcontractors had not paid more than 900 employees at the mine and that they would not return to work until that was resolved.

Freeport had said it aims to have all workers back by January 16 and reach full capacity in the following weeks when some damaged pipelines are repaired.

The workers claimed to be Freeport's lowest-paid employees in the world, including those at mines in Africa and South America.

Last month, workers said they had agreed to return to the mines after negotiating a 37-percent pay increase on wages that started at $1.50 an hour for unionised members and better conditions for contractors.

Freeport subcontractor workers set on fire, 1 dies

The Jakarta Post

9 January 2012

A patrol car belonging to PT Kuala Pelabuhan Indonesia, a subcontractor of American mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia, was shot and set ablaze by an identified man at Mile 51, Timika, Papua, on Monday morning local time.

The company's worker, identified as Nasyun Naboth Simopiaref, reportedly died in the incident while another worker, Thomas Bagiarsa, escaped with burns.

The workers, identified as Thomas Bagiarsa and Masyun Simopiaref, were placed in harm's way after the car they were driving overturned and then caught fire.

Both workers have been taken to the Kuala Kencana clinic, Antara reported.

The authorities are reportedly investigating the scene and have yet to release an official statement on the incident.

Grasberg union halts worker return after ambush killings


10 January 2012

JAKARTA - Workers at a Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc Indonesian mine on Tuesday halted their gradual return to work one day after gunmen shot two contractors dead on the road to the Grasberg mine, a union spokesman said.

It was unclear whether the halt also affected production at the mine in the central highlands of Papua, an island in eastern Indonesia.

"This terror is like a monster for us, the workers," union spokesman Juli Parorrongan said. "Every day the workers ask who is going to be the next victim," he said, adding that no more workers would return until police ensure the safety of the mine road.

Workers have slowly returned to Grasberg in the wake of a three-month strike over pay that crippled production at the world's second-biggest copper mine and shook labor relations in Indonesia, southeast Asia's largest economy.

Around 2,000 workers have returned to Grasberg and around 7,000 others are waiting to be transported by bus to the mine, said Parorrongan by telephone, adding that some other workers did not join the strike.

There have been scores of shootings by unidentified snipers around Freeport in recent years, with victims including workers, illegal miners, and security officers.

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