Freeport resumes underground operations after mine collapse

Arizona-based Freeport McMoRan said it will restart underground mining in eastern Indonesia today, after production was halted nearly two months ago due to a tunnel collapse.

The company announced it on Tuesday after the energy ministry gave permission for its Indonesian subsidiary to resume underground production at its large copper mine in the mountains of Papua province.

“Today we received permission to resume production and processing at our underground mine,” spokeswoman for the firm’s Indonesian unit Daisy Primayanti said.

Open-pit mining and milling operations began at the end of June, the AFP reported.

Operations completely stopped the day after a tunnel collapse in an underground training facility on May 14, which killed 28 people.

Freeport suspended four senior employees, including three foreigners, who were blamed for the tunnel collapse.

The Indonesian government recently gave approcal for Freeport to restart some operations at the world's second largest copper mine.

Freeport Indonesia president director Rozik Soetjipto said there would be small amounts of production initially as they have to prepare everything. Production will gradually increase.

Freeport proclaimed force majeure on shipments from Grasberg in June, saying it could not meet its contractual commitments due to events beyond its control.

Primayanti said this clause would remain unchanged for now.

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