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Employees warned over heightened security risks at Papua mine

Radio New Zealand - March 6, 2020

Employees at the Freeport mine in West Papua have been warned about heightened security risks in the area. PT Freeport Indonesia has told staff they and their family may notice an increased presence of security personnel.

This follows a series of attacks on Indonesian security forces in the area around Freeport's Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua province.

The West Papua Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the attacks. It said it shot dead an Indonesian soldier in the area at the weekend, and on Monday injured up to eight police on the road to the mine.

Freeport has advised employees to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious they encounter. In its update to employees, the company has also instructed measures employees should take when they hear shots.

The Grasberg mine has long been a major source of revenue to the Indonesian state.

PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US-based company Freeport McMoran, was recently compelled to divest 51 percent of its equity in the mine to Indonesia.

The West Papua Liberation Army said it was targeting the mine operations in its war on the Indonesian state.

The road between Mimika's capital Timika and the Freeport mine, about 125km long, is guarded by an estimated 3000 Indonesian security forces.

According to human rights researchers, dozens of people have been killed and over 500 injured in shootings along the road in the past 17 years.

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/411133/employees-warned-over-heightened-security-risks-at-papua-mine