Operations at Freeport Grasberg copper mine remain blocked

Operations at Freeport Grasberg copper mine remained blocked

Grasberg copper mine.

Open-pit operations at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s (NYSE:FCX) Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia remained suspended Thursday as protesters demand management to review safety conditions following an accident on Sept. 27.

Indonesia's mining ministry has stepped in, beginning a probe into the collision involving a truck that killed four workers Saturday.

Grasberg, the world’s third largest copper mine, is still shipping concentrate, or partly treated ore. However, it may remain closed for at least a week, The Jakarta Post reported Wednesday.

Analysts are not worry about the effects on the stoppage on the copper market. The company only resumed exports in early August after a seven-month tax dispute with the government, which halted shipments.

“I would expect Grasberg to have accumulated quite substantial stocks of concentrates during the first half due to the export ban, so it should take a while before these are exhausted,” Nic Brown, head of commodities research at Natixis SA in London, told Bloomberg.

This is not the first time that Freeport employees had blocked the road to express their demands. In May last year they set a tent on a mine access road following a landslide in Big Gossan that killed 28 employees.

Image from archives.