Wednesday, May 22, 2013

1) Freeport neglects labor security

1) Freeport neglects labor security

2) As Rescue Operations End, Freeport Focuses on Mine Safety Review

3) State revenue to dip after PTFI stops operations


1) Freeport neglects labor security

Wed, May 22 2013 09:59 | 148 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Deputy chairman of the Commission IX of the House of Representatives Irgan Mahfiz accused PT Freeport Indonesia of neglecting the security of its workers. 

Irgan referred to last week's accident in Mimika when the Big Gossan tunnel collapsed killing at least 28 people and 10 other injured. 

The accident occurred when 40 workers held routine underground working security training in the tunnel. Until yesterday (May 22), the rescue team had evacuated almost all of the Indonesian workers from the tunnel. Only six left behind and still in the searching and rescue.

The Big Gossan tunnel is not a mining tunnel as it has been used only for labor security training for the workers of the subsidiary of the US company Freeport-McMoRan.

Freeport has been in operation in Papua since the 1970, having the largest gold and copper mines in the country .

Mahfiz said here on Wednesday, the company had trained its workers underground that could collapses any time. 

He said apparently the company had not made labor security a priority.

"The fact that so many people killed and injured showed that the company had failed in addressing labor security that should be high in priority," he said. 

He urged the government to immediately form a team of investigation to probe into the case. 

Freeport has to be held responsible for the accident including compensation and it should be ready to face possible legal case , he said. 

Meanwhile, a Papua regional legislator Yan Mandenas said the central government and regional and district administrations should strongly reprimand PT Freeport Indonesia.

"This is tragic. The government should not keep silent about it," Mandenas said, more such accidents could occur anytime in mining tunnels. 

The government and Freeport should review mining operation in Papua considering the security of workers and the preservation of the environment. 

Mining operations of Freeport have caused extensive damage to the environment in Papua, he said. 

Lien Maloali of the Foker non governmental organization, said it is time for the Papua provincial administration to take a firm stand.

"We must not continue to be dictated by Freeport, which has given only little of its big profit to the people of Papua," Lien said. 

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said 14 bodies of dead workers were found on Tuesday.

The 14 bodies brought the number of workers killed in the accident to 28, Jero told the lawmakers at a meeting here on Tuesday. 

Editor: Ade Marboen

2) As Rescue Operations End, Freeport Focuses on Mine Safety Review

A day after rescuers pulled the last body from the rubble of a recent mine collapse that killed 28 workers, Freeport has turned its attention to a review of safety measures at its underground operations, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold chief Richard Adkerson said.
“With the recovery work completed we are now focusing on reviewing safety throughout our underground operations and in determining what caused the collapse. We will take all actions required to provide for the safety of our workforce,” Adkerson said in a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Adkerson said that Freeport’s workforce has always been and will continue to be the company’s top priority.
“We will not rest until we are assured we understand the reasons for this tragic event and take all actions possible to prevent this from happening again,” he said.
Adkerson, who arrived in Indonesia four days after the incident, said that the company was now in the process of assembling an outside investigation team comprised of Indonesian and international experts in underground mining and geotechnical science.
“We will be transparent in the investigation and its findings and cooperating with the authorities from the government of Indonesia,” he said.
Freeport Indonesia president director Rozik Soetjipto, speaking at the same occasion, echoed Adkerson’s statements.
“Our priority at the present is to move our field team to specifically inspect work safety conditions at all our underground mining facilities, in line with the guidance from the mine inspector from the Mines and Mineral Resources directorate general,” Rozik said.
Rozik also said that the company had no immediate plans to resume operations at the facility, which is the second-largest copper mine in the world.
“We will conduct a comprehensive investigation, together with the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and other independent sides, national or international,” he said.
By late on Tuesday, the final death toll from the collapsed tunnel at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s Grasberg complex in Mimika, Papua, reached 28. The 10 survivors of the collapse were recovering well, the company said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered related ministries to review safety at all mines in Indonesia.
Indonesia generated $1.3 billion in operating income from Freeport last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Freeport owns 91 percent of the mine, which also produces gold, and Indonesia’s government holds the rest, according to the company’s website.
With additional reporting from Bloomberg

3) State revenue to dip after PTFI stops operations

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The government has instructed PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), a subsidiary of US mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, to cease all operations until an investigation into a fatal incident at its Papua training facility is concluded.

As a consequence, the government is likely to lose US$1.82 million in state revenue every day during the suspension of operations at the mining site, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry director general for coal and minerals Thamrin Sihite said on Tuesday.

“However, this is a risk that we must take. Our current focus is to evacuate all of the victims,” he said at the ministry, adding the government was pushing for PTFI, one of the country’s largest taxpayers, to immediately conclude its investigation.

Thamrin also said PTFI was unlikely to meet its production target of 1.3 million troy ounces of gold by end-year, up by 44.4 percent from the 900,000 troy ounces the mining firm booked in 2012.

Of the 38 workers trapped in a tunnel that collapsed on May 14 at PTFI’s Big Gossan training facility in Timika, Papua, 28 died while 10 suffered minor to major injuries.

Eight bodies removed from the tunnel on Tuesday, the last day of evacuation, were identified as Lewi Mofu, Lestari Siahaan, Herman Susanto, Daniel Tedy Eramuri, David Gobay, Febry Tandungan, Ferry Edison Pangaribuan and Wandi.

PTFI has ceased all production and has only carried out maintenance work since rescue efforts started.

Separately, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta that his office would summon PTFI president director Rozik B. Soetjipto to explain the incident.

The Democratic Party politician also played down concern by labor unions — such as the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI) — that the government might side with Freeport in the aftermath of the incident.

“Such a large company must take responsibility for its workers,” said Jero.

PTFI technical affairs director Rudy Seba said in a text message that his company would focus on concluding the investigation “as soon as possible”, adding that “we are unable to talk about production until the investigation is concluded and the workers can work safely”.

PTFI is among the mining giants that have yet to complete its contract renegotiations with the government.

The renegotiations, which must be concluded by the end of the year, cover six main issues: an increase in royalty payments, the establishment of local smelters, the use of local goods and services, divestment, contract extensions and the size of mining areas.

PTFI in general has refused to increase its royalty payments and have its working areas reduced to 25,000 hectares. It has also refused to build smelters to process ores locally despite the 2009 Mining Law, which will ban exports of unprocessed mineral ores starting from 2014. PTFI earlier said that it may have to lay off workers next year should the government decline to amend the law.

Bagus BT Saragih also contributed reporting from Jakarta

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