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Freeport Workers Blockade Mine

October 13, 2011

From Joyo

also: President Calls For Justice Over Police Killing Of Freeport Protester

Indonesia Freeport Workers Blockade Mine

TIMIKA, Indonesia, OCt 12 (AFP) — More than 1,000 workers on strike at
a giant Indonesian mine owned by US company Freeport McMoRan blocked
the only road to the facility Wednesday, days after a deadly clash
with police.

It was not immediately clear what impact the blockade was having on
production at the Grasberg complex, one of the world’s biggest gold
and copper mines.

Police shot and killed one protester and wounded at least six others
in Timika, in eastern Indonesia’s Papua province, Monday in a standoff
with workers demanding higher wages.

Herman Sirakoy, a Freeport worker at the blockade told AFP: "We demand
the company, police and the local government take responsibility for
the shootings, and that Freeport stop operations completely as they
have been instructed to do."

A company representative was trying to negotiate with the workers, who
had felled trees to block the route, he said. "We will not unblock the
road until Freeport stops operations," Sirakoy added.

A Freeport spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Police say violence broke out Monday when workers began pelting stones
at officers, seven of whom were hospitalised. Workers set fire to a
car and three trucks belonging to Freeport during the clash.

The provincial legislative council released a letter of instruction
last Thursday stating that if Freeport and the workers did not agree
on new wages "in the shortest time possible", Freeport must suspend
operations.

More than 8,000 mostly indigenous Melanesian workers are demanding the
minimum wage at the mine go up more than eightfold, from $1.50 an hour
to $12.50 an hour, and the maximum be raised almost ninefold, from
$3.50 to $32.

The strike entered its second month last week.

The trouble at Grasberg, coupled with a spate of strikes at Freeport’s
South American mines, had raised concerns of a global copper shortage
but some analysts say any impact could be limited by falling demand
for the metal.

Union representatives say that Freeport’s Papuan workers receive the
lowest wages of any Freeport mining facility in the world.

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