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Freeport McMoRan halts output at Indonesia mine

Published by MAC on 2015-03-20
Source: Reuters (2015-03-23)

The trouble at Freeport's troubled Grasberg site continues. More than 50 workers have blocked an access road for four consecutive days.

Recent article on MAC: Three Killed at Freeport's West Papuan Mine

Freeport McMoRan halts output at Indonesia mine

Dennys Kapa

Reuters

19 March 2015

Production has been halted at Freeport-McMoRan Inc’s copper mine in Indonesia as more than 50 workers blocked an access road to the Grasberg site for a fourth consecutive day, union officials said.

Any disruption to supplies from one of the world’s biggest copper mines could support benchmark metal prices that have dropped around 9 percent so far this year.

Freeport runs the huge Grasberg complex on remote Papua and workers began blocking the road to the site on Monday to protest against a settlement reached with other employees at the end of a previous dispute.

“The blockade is still happening until today,” a union spokesman Juli Parorrongan told Reuters on Thursday. “Production has stopped since the first day of blockade and we regret this.”

“The blockade that is currently happening is being done outside the workers union and was not organised by the union.”

Freeport could not be reached for a comment. Earlier this week, the miner had said that it believed the matter could be resolved with limited impact to production.

Currently more than 50 people are involved in the blockade, including locals who are not employed by Freeport, Albar Sabang, a senior official at a Freeport union, told Reuters in a text message on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, a senior Indonesian mines ministry official had said more than 300 workers were protesting.

“There has been some anticipation that there was going to be an issue at Freeport … it hasn’t impacted the market today but if it drags on, then it will,” an Asia-based concentrates trader said.

Freeport Indonesia, which employs around 24,000 workers, is expected to produce 43 percent more copper concentrate this year at 2 million tonnes.

Relations between Freeport and the workers’ unions have been strained in recent years. Late in 2014, a planned one-month strike following the death of four workers was cancelled at the 11th hour.

 

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