MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesia: Freeport mine stays closed after accident

Published by MAC on 2013-06-19
Source: Reuters,

Indonesia may decide this week on Freeport mine resumption - minister


18 June 2013

JAKARTA - Indonesia's government may decide this week on whether to allow Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc to resume open-pit mining, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources said on Tuesday, five weeks after a tunnel collapse killed 28 workers.

Freeport suspended operations at the world's No.2 copper mine in West Papua on May 15, a day after a training area in a tunnel caved in on 38 people.

The final report from a government probe into the tunnel collapse was given to the Minerals Ministry on Monday.

"Freeport has passed on a letter (requesting) permission to reopen the open-pit," Energy and Minerals Resources Minister Jero Wacik told reporters. "We will decide this week whether to allow the open pit (to reopen) or not."

Wacik was reported in the Jakarta Globe newspaper on Tuesday as having said that a decision on whether to reopen the copper and gold mine was due to be made next week.

Freeport Indonesia could not be reached for comment.

The head of the probe said last week the initial findings of the investigation had been discussed at ministerial level.

Papua-based Freeport union officials have said production should not resume until all investigations into the accident are completed. They would also like to evaluate the final report and see if Freeport implements all recommendations.

"The open pit (mine) is relatively safer, but the steep slopes still need to be monitored closely," Wacik said on Tuesday at a news conference. "The underground (mine) is still shut."

"There are indications (from the investigation) that the ground movements were caused by weathering (or) corrosion," he added, referring to the May accident.

Arizona-based Freeport declared force majeure last Wednesday to free itself from obligations to deliver copper concentrate from its Grasberg mine.

Although production was suspended one day after the tunnel collapse, workers at the mine have been carrying out maintenance duties.

Freeport Indonesia workers cancel planned strike


14 June 2013

JAKARTA - Trade union workers at the Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc mine in Indonesia have called off a planned strike due to start on Friday, a company spokeswoman said.

On Monday, trade unions sent a letter to Freeport management demanding five officials be suspended after a training tunnel collapsed on May 14, killing 28 people.

"The planned strike by the workers today is cancelled," Freeport Indonesia spokeswoman Daisy Primayanti said by text message. "Workers are returning back to work with their usual schedules."

Union officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copper soars after Freeport McMoRan declares force majeure on Grasberg mine

Cecilia Jamasmie

12 June 2013

Copper futures rallied Wednesday after Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. declared force majeure at its Indonesia's Grasberg mine, the world's second largest copper operation, heightening concerns about low supplies this year.

The company had to halt operations last month, after a tunnel collapsed at the mine and killed 28 workers. Now it is waiting for approval from Indonesian authorities to restart operations in phases, starting with open-pit mining and processing activity.

Freeport's Indonesian subsidiary restarted some operations after around two weeks, but the government ordered a halt in all production days later when a worker was killed in a new accident.

The stoppage is reducing output by about 3 million pounds of copper (1,361 metric tons) and 3,000 ounces of gold a day, the company said today.

For the period between May 15 and Tuesday, the company said the estimated impact on PT Freeport Indonesia's production was about 80 million pounds of copper and 80,000 ounces of gold.

Metal for delivery in three months went up 1.1% to $7,144.75 a metric ton this morning on the London Metal Exchange. Copper rose as much as 1.4%, the main intraday gain since June 4, after hitting a low of $7,032 Tuesday. Futures for delivery in July increased 0.9% to $3.223 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Indonesia hasn't set timeframe to finish Freeport mine probe

Eko Listiyorini & Liezel Hill


10 June 2013

Indonesian authorities investigating the cause of an accident that killed 28 people at Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.'s Grasberg complex have yet to reach a conclusion and haven't set a timeframe to complete the probe.

Technical discussions continue and data is still being gathered, Thamrin Sihite, director general of coal and minerals at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, told reporters in Jakarta today. Grasberg, the world's second-biggest copper mine, will stay shut until the government gets the results of an independent probe, Sihite said June 5.

The ministry is "result oriented, not time oriented," Sihite said today.

Investigators are seeking the cause of a tunnel collapse on May 14 at Grasberg, which also produces gold. Another worker died June 1 from a separate accident when material overflowed from an ore bin and covered a truck during maintenance activity.

Freeport declined 0.4 percent to $30.92 at the close in Toronto. The shares have fallen 10 percent this year.

BHP Billiton Ltd.'s Escondida mine in Chile is the largest copper mine.

--With assistance from Yoga Rusmana in Jakarta. Editors: Steven Frank, Jasmina Kelemen

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