TEMBAGAPURA, KOMPAS.com - Two contractors working for US company Freeport-McMoRan were found dead Monday near a giant gold-and-copper mine that has been hit by a strike and violence for months, the company said.
Ten people, all Indonesians, have now been killed around the mine in ambushes and in a clash with police since a strike that began in September at the company’s Grasberg mine in restive Papua province. The latest victims, who were found dead in a vehicle owned by the US company, had apparently been shot, said Ramdani Sirait, spokesman for the company’s local subsidiary, Freeport Indonesia.
“At about 9:15am local time this morning, we received a report of an incident involving a light vehicle which has fatally injured two contractor employees,” Sirait said in an email to AFP.
“Initial reports indicate that the vehicle appears to have been fired upon,” he added, confirming that the two workers had died.
Police, who have blamed “unidentified gunmen” for some of the shootings, did not immediately comment on the latest incident. A Freeport employee at the scene said the vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser, had been flipped over and burnt.
In mid-December, Freeport Indonesia said that a three-month strike involving more than 8,000 workers and 1,600 contractors had been settled. But on Friday the workers union said that several of Freeport’s subcontractors had not paid more than 900 employees at the mine and that they would not return to work until that was resolved.
Freeport had said it aims to have all workers back by January 16 and reach full capacity in the following weeks when some damaged pipelines are repaired. The workers claimed to be Freeport’s lowest-paid employees in the world, including those at mines in Africa and South America.
Last month, workers said they had agreed to return to the mines after negotiating a 37-percent pay increase on wages that started at $1.50 an hour for unionised members and better conditions for contractors