Freeport told to halt activities during probe

Amahl S. Azwar, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali | Business | Tue, June 04 2013, 11:14 AM

The government has told PT Freeport Indonesia to halt production at its mine in Papua following an incident last week that claimed the life of one of its workers, a top official said.

Last Friday’s incident, at the Deep Ore Zone (DOZ), occurred only two weeks after a cave-in on May 14 at the company’s training facility that killed 28 workers.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s director general for coal and minerals, Thamrin Sihite, said on Monday that as investigations were underway Freeport would be prohibited from performing production activities.

Thamrin was talking on the sidelines of the 19th CoalTrans Asia conference in Bali.

A truck operator, identified as Herman Wahid, was buried after wet ore material at the DOZ facility covered his truck.

He died on Saturday at Tembagapura Hospital.

While 10 workers survived the DOZ incident, it remains the company’s deadliest incident in decades of operations in Indonesia.

Last week, Freeport Indonesia president director Rozik B. Soetjipto said the company would restart production activities at the Grasberg open-mine site, which produces 140,000 tons of ore every day. The company plans to undertake maintenance activities at its underground facility until it receives approval from the government to restart its producing activities.

The DOZ facility has a production capacity of 80,000 tons of ore per day.

Separately, Freeport Indonesia spokesperson Daisy Primayanti said the company had accepted the
government’s recommendation.

Daisy declined to comment on how long Freeport would be able to supply concentrates to its customers.

During his visit to Jakarta last month, Freeport-McMoran CEO Richard Adkerson said it’s current supply of concentrates would be able to fulfill demand “for several days.”

Freeport planned to invest US$15 billion in developing underground mining operations at the Grasberg mine.

The new site, which will be called the Grasberg block cave mine, is expected to begin operations in 2017 with an estimated production of 160,000 tons of ore per day at full capacity.

The combined production from the planned Grasberg block cave mine with the existing DOZ mine would bring Freeport’s production in Papua to around 240,000 tons of ore per day or 9 percent higher than its current output.


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