Freeport Indonesia workers fear for safety after Grasberg deaths

Date of publication: 
11 April 2011

RENO, NV – Hundreds of Grasberg employees protested in front of the PT Freeport Indonesia offices for two days, refusing to go to work until their employer could guarantee their safety.

Papua police are investigating a traffic accident Thursday in which two Grasberg mine employees were killed when the car in which they were riding overturned and burst into flames. Freeport spokesman Ramdani said the investment was being carried with the full report of PT Freeport.

Police spokesman Senior Commander Wachyono told the Jakarta Post the bodies of the victims were burned beyond recognition and were being autopsied at the Tembagarapura Hospital. They are believed to be Freeport security manager Daniel Manawan and security superintendent Hari Siregar.

Four bullet holes were found on the left said of the car and a bullet hole in the left front door.

On April 6 two Grasberg employees were fired upon in a car traveling on a road within Freeport’s operational area. Abdul Simanjuntak was hit in the left eye by shattered glass while Agus Pata sustained lacerations, said Wachyono.

The Grasberg facility has the world’s largest recoverable reserves of copper and the largest gold reserves. It is located in the Papua Province, which has been targeted by the militant Free Papua Movement for independence from the Indonesian central government.

The mine has also been a focal point of friction over its environmental impacts, the share of revenues going to the national government and the financing of security forces that help guard the operations. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold is the largest single taxpayer to the Indonesian government.

The mine has been regularly targeted by arson and bombings since the 1970s. A series of attacks on PT Freeport vehicles in 2009 killed Freeport security officer Markus Rate Alo, Australian engineer Drew Nicholas Grant and police officer Marson.