Freeport Indonesia Workers Plan June Demonstration
Timika. Workers at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia are planning to protest this month against the dismissal of three employees and security problems, a union official told Reuters on Friday.
The official gave no details about the protest, and it was unclear how it would affect operations at the remote mine, which holds the world’s largest gold reserves and second largest copper reserves.
Last year, thousands of unionized Freeport workers halted production at Grasberg in the country’s longest ever strike. The company’s profits were hit and copper prices rose as a result of the protest.
“In the near future in June we will hold a demonstration in connection with security issues and the dismissal of three employees, which we regard as not in accordance with procedure,” said Virgo Solossa, spokesman for Freeport Indonesia’s union.
“This action will be firm or … we will stop completely,” he said, without saying whether this meant a halt to mining operations.
Freeport officials were not immediately available to comment.
Solossa said three workers were dismissed after being taken to court for being involved in a fight. Workers are also concerned about the security situation because of frequent shootings near the mine in the Papua region, he added.
Gunmen have killed 15 people and injured about 50 others since July 2009, according to Freeport figures this year. The toll includes workers, security officers and illegal miners but it is unclear who is behind the attacks.