29 October 2016
DFAT warns of Grasberg attacks

THE Department of Foreign Affairs has warned Australians to reconsider travel to parts of Indonesia due to the heightened threat of attacks around Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold’s massive Grasberg mine.

DFAT updated its travel warnings for Indonesia yesterday, with travellers to the Central Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua and West Papua provinces told to reconsider their need to travel due to “additional safety and security risks”.

“Since July 2009, there has been a series of violent attacks in the area around the Freeport mine in Papua province,” DFAT said.

“Attacks were reported in the area in March and April 2013. Further such attacks could occur.

“Information indicates that attacks may be planned near the area of operation of the Freeport mine.

“A number of these incidents have resulted in deaths, including of one Australian.”

It comes after Reuters reported that 1130 workers from three of the mine’s contractors went on strike on Wednesday over pay.

However, the news agency reported yesterday that the strike was set to end today after a resolution was reached and there would be no impact to operations.

In late 2011, workers embarked on a three-month strike at Grasberg and Freeport shut down the mine for three weeks in February 2012 due to ongoing violence.

It is estimated that around 10 people – including local residents and gold panners – were killed between September 2011 and January 2012.

Most were shot dead with the majority ambushed in vehicles.

The massive mine employs more than 23,000 workers and contractors.

Phoenix-based Freeport reported last month that Grasberg lifted copper production 78% year-on-year to 219,000 tonnes in March quarter while its gold output slipped 7% year-on-year to 212,000t.

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