Grasberg Output Unaffected Despite Landslides: Freeport

By : webadmin | on 9:30 AM March 08, 2011
Category : Archive

Production at Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold Inc.’s Grasberg mine in Papua province was unaffected by landslides over the weekend, a spokesman said.

A weekend landslide buried a key road access tunnel to Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Grasberg mine, leaving thousands of workers stranded, but the company said operations were continuing as normal.

Freeport is the world's largest publicly traded copper miner, while Grasberg has the world's largest recoverable reserves of copper and the largest gold reserves.

Saturday's landslide prevented thousands of workers from reaching the mine, situated in the highlands of eastern Papua province, but a helicopter was seen ferrying some staff before cloud and mist descended.About 60 buses used to transport workers were parked in the lowlands, below the blocked tunnel.

"There was ground failure at Hannekam Tunnel on March 5. The tunnel is currently closed while work is completed to address the failure," spokesman PT Freeport Indonesia spokesman Ramdani Sirait said in an emailed statement.

"This ground failure occurred outside PT Freeport Indonesia's mining area and production continues normally," he added.

Landslides blocked a key access tunnel for workers to return to the mine after the weekend break, Ramdani Sirait said. There are enough workers at the mine to continue normal operations, he added, saying there were no casualties from the incident.

“The incident also does not impact the concentrate shipments to buyers because the concentrate is transported from the mine and mill to the port site by pipeline,” Ramdani said in an e-mail. “We expect the access will be returning to normal within days.” 

Bloomberg & Reuters