Worker Killed at Freeport Mine in Papua

Freeport workers share a moment with security personnel as they walk at Grasberg mine area in Tembagapura, Papua, on Aug. 14, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Muhammad Yamin)

Freeport workers share a moment with security personnel as they walk at Grasberg mine area in Tembagapura, Papua, on Aug. 14, 2013. (Reuters Photo/Muhammad Yamin)

A worker at a US-owned gold and copper mine in eastern Indonesia was killed instantly on Sunday when rocks fell from a machine, crushing him, police said.

The 27-year-old production operator was driving a car into the loading area of Freeport-McMoRan’s huge Grasberg mine in Papua province when tragedy struck, local police chief Sudirman told AFP.

“The worker was crushed to death after a machine used to load rocks onto trucks unleashed its contents onto him instead. He died on the spot,” Sudirman said.

“This is an industrial accident and we are still investigating.”

Another passenger in the car was injured but is in a stable condition, he added.

In May, a training tunnel collapsed killing 28 miners as they took part in a safety training course in what was one of Indonesia’s worst mining accidents.

The company suspended four senior employees who were accused by unions of being at fault after workers threatened to strike.

Grasberg has also been plagued by production problems in recent years.

In June, Freeport declared force majeure on shipments from the mine, saying it could not fulfill contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond its control.

In 2011 a three-month strike crippled production at the mine, and workers only halted the industrial action once Freeport agreed to a huge pay rise.

Freeport holds the world’s largest gold reserves in the restive province.

Agence France-Presse

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