Two workers die in clashes at Indonesia nickel smelter (Nikkei Asia – January 16, 2023)

Violence erupts as workers demonstrate for better pay and safety

JAKARTA (Reuters) — Two workers were killed in clashes and rioting at an Indonesian nickel smelting facility at the weekend, officials said on Monday, after violence erupted during a protest by a labor group demanding better pay and safety.

An Indonesian and a Chinese worker were killed during the unrest at the PT Gunbuster Nickel Industry (GNI) smelter, owned by China’s Jiangsu Delong Nickel Industry, which involved protesters, workers and security personnel, said Didik Supranoto, a spokesperson for Central Sulawesi police.

Several company vehicles were torched and about 100 dormitory rooms were damaged, Didik said, adding that 71 people were detained and operations at the smelter had been suspended.

GNI launched the smelter in late 2021 with an annual capacity of 1.8 million tonnes and an estimated total investment of $2.7 billion.

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