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Workers urge government to settle dispute with Freeport

  • Viriya P. Singgih
    Viriya P. Singgih

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, March 7, 2017 | 03:36 pm
Workers urge government to settle dispute with Freeport A vehicle passes through gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia’s mining area in Grasberg, Mimika, Papua. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

A group of people claiming to be employees of gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia has traveled from Papua to Jakarta to rally in front of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, urging the government to immediately resolve its dispute with the company.

Fredrik Magai, one of the protestors, said the dispute with the government had led Freeport Indonesia to lay off 1,525 workers since Jan. 12, when the government imposed a mineral export ban as mandated in the 2009 Mining Law.

"The company has also given long leave to lots of its workers, especially low-level staff. As a result, those workers, who previously relied on overtime pay, have seen their incomes plunge drastically," Fredrik told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

(Read also: Locals need Freeport saga to end soon)

According to Fredrik, a low-level staff member had a basic salary of between Rp 4 million (US$296) and Rp 9 million, with overtime pay amounting to Rp 20 million.

Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of the United States-based mining giant Freeport McMoRan, has been in a dispute with the government following the issuance of Government Regulation No. 1/2017 and two derivative decrees.

The new regulations pave the way for the company to process an export permit for copper concentrates produced at the Grasberg mine in Papua. It is also obliged to convert its contract of work into a special mining license, divest 51 percent of its shares within a decade of production and build a new smelter. (bbn)

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