Govt expects more Papuans working in Freeport

Govt expects more Papuans working in Freeport
Some Papuan workers at Freeport Indonesia's mining site. (PT Freeport Indonesia)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – From 2020 to 2023 PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), which operates in Papua Province’s district of Tembagapura, is expected to conduct underground mining from the Grasberg open pit.

In connection with the transition of the mining method, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif reminded that the mining company based in Arizona, the United States, prioritize Papuan human resources in carrying out underground mining activities.

“This region has huge mineral resource potentials. We have to take advantage of it. I am pleased that this work has been carried out by many locals in Papua. This should be a special concern of the Freeport management to always nurture and improve local human resources,” the minister said during a visit to the Grasberg Mine site on Saturday (21/12).

According to him, the human resources development is still under discussion between the government and the PF IT management.

“We have a mining polytechnic program. This facilitates local human resources that can later play a reliable role in the mining industry of PT FI. We must be able to create harmony in the Papuan community. This is the government’s obsession supported by the law,” he explained.

Data for 2019 show that PT Freeport Indonesia’s direct workforce is 6,943, consisting of 152 foreign workers and 6,791 Indonesian workers.

Regarding the continuation of PT FI’s production process which will be carried out using the underground mining method, Minister Arifin said that relevant research is needed to reduce risks that could potentially hamper production.

One of the biggest obstacles is the separation of water in the mining process (wet max).

“I believe in the ability of PT FI, which has been in the mining industry for a long time,” Arifin said.

From 2020 to 2023, PT FI will conduct underground mining to replace the Grasberg open pit, in the DOZ, Big Gossan, DMLZ and Grasberg Block Cave areas.

The planned underground mining volume in 2020 is to reach 96 thousand tons/day; in 2021 to amount to 160 thousand tons/day; in 2022 to become 216 thousand tons/day; and in 2023 to be 217 thousand tons/day.

At present, PT Freeport Indonesia has six blocks/prospects with a mine volume of 2,756,729 kilo tons with an average copper content of 0.67 percent; gold 0.59 gr/ton; and silver 3.51 gr/ton.

The volume of mine reserves amounts to 1,869,083 kilo tons with an average copper content of 1.03 percent; gold 0.79 gr/ton; and gold 4.52 gr/ton.

According to the national mass media reports, the Grasberg mine in Papua managed by PT Freeport Indonesia since 1991 is the most special mining site in the country because its gold and copper reserves are among the largest in the world.

The ore production from the Grasberg underground mine once reached 80,000 tons per day, making it one of the largest underground mines in the world.

The Grasberg’s total mineral wealth reaches 3.8 billion tons.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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