MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Major Disaster Strikes Freeport-Rio Tinto Indonesian Mine

Published by MAC on 2003-10-11


Major Disaster Strikes Freeport-Rio Tinto Indonesian Mine

"Mining kills an awful lot of people in all parts of the world" - so commented Victor Flores of HSBC Securities last Thursday, as news reached the northern hemisphere of a major disaster on 9th October at the Freeport-Rio Tinto Grasberg in West Papua (see photos).

Two workers died, five were injured and six are still missing (at the time of writing). As the statement released by WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) points out, this is the second deadly "failure" at the mine in the past three years, and the worst. Freeport in the US issued a statement calling the incident "unfortunate" and reassured customers that, though part of the mine would be closed for two weeks customers needn't worry. WALHI has called for the mine's operations to be suspended; for its output to be drastically reduced and for the government to carry out an urgent review of all mining in the country.

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