Freeport Mine Workers Strike Against Indonesian Government

By Heather van Blokland
Published: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 5:05am
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 7:03am

A strike Thursday sent home thousands of workers from Freeport McMoRan’s Indonesian operations. Union workers are demonstrating against the government today. It's the latest blow to international operations affecting one-third of the company’s copper business.

Thirty-three thousand workers have stopped production at Freeport’s Grasberg mine in Indonesia after the company halted operations. A union is planning a formal demonstration against the government.

Last month, Indonesian authorities halted export permits in an effort to force companies, like Freeport, to produce and keep profits in country.

Since the ban, Freeport’s copper concentrate has piled up, and the company cut production to 40 percent of normal levels. Now, all work has stopped at the mine, and the company is out of storage space.

Freeport executives are continuing to ask Indonesian officials for an export permit to resume normal operations. Union officials are waiting for the weekend to set next steps.