Turmoil at the world’s second-biggest copper mine intensified on Wednesday as Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Indonesia unit said it had fired 3,000 workers amid a strike that has lasted more than five weeks and cut production at the pit.
Freeport Indonesia said the workers at the giant Grasberg mine failed to return after being asked five times and it now considers them to have resigned, spokesman Riza Pratama told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday.
There are about 30,000 people at the mine, including 11,000 direct employees. Shipments of concentrate aren’t affected, though output’s not at an “optimum level” because of the ongoing strike, Pratama said, without elaborating.
Eric Kinneberg, a spokesman at Freeport’s head office in Phoenix, said Wednesday the company had no additional comment beyond a statement made on May 25. At that time, Freeport said roughly 4,000 workers, including a limited number of contractors, had not reported to work and were deemed to have resigned.
The strike at Grasberg in Papua that started on May 1 has hurt mining and milling rates, according to the company. The workers are protesting against layoffs and furloughs.
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