Freeport’s Indonesia Grasberg Copper Mine Opens After 5-Day Blockade
Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, the world’s second-largest for the metal by capacity, reopened Saturday after a worker roadblock stopped production for five days and helped push the metal’s price to a two-month high.
Access to the site, located in the mountains in Papua province in eastern Indonesia, was restored this morning and normal operations are resuming, Daisy Primayanti, a spokeswoman at Freeport Indonesia, said in a phone interview.
The roadblock has been cleared, said Juli Parorrongan, a spokesman for the Freeport Indonesia workers’ union.
“The union has said to the workers that they should go back to work,” she confirmed on Saturday.
Grasberg has been plagued by labor strife in recent years. Workers seeking higher wages held a strike in 2011 and the mine was closed for months following a tunnel collapse in 2013.
The protesters, who the union said numbered around 100 on Friday, had been demanding bonuses as an incentive for not taking part in a work stoppage last year. Shipments of concentrates from stockpiles continued during the closure.
Copper for delivery in three months rose 3.3 percent to $6,045 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange on Friday, following a 3.3 percent advance the day before.
The metal touched $6,082.5 on Friday, the highest since Jan. 12.
Freeport Indonesia didn’t reach any agreement with the workers on their demands and dialog is continuing, spokeswoman Primayanti said.
Shares of Phoenix-based Freeport, the largest US miner, rebounded 6.7 percent in New York on Friday to close at $18.41, recouping a 5.3 percent loss on Thursday.
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