Grasberg strike lingers

THE ongoing strike over pay at Freeport-McMoRan’s giant Grasberg mine in Indonesia’s Papua province has been extended until mid-January, ensuring more support for strong copper prices.
Grasberg strike lingers Grasberg strike lingers Grasberg strike lingers Grasberg strike lingers Grasberg strike lingers

The outstanding biannual labour agreement was due for renewal at the end of September and union officials have regularly extended the strike on a monthly basis since.

An estimated 8000 lower-paid workers are demanding a five-fold pay increase to $US7.50 an hour under the campaign.

Due to sabotage of the mine's copper concentrate pipelines, force majeure declarations were made in late October and production capacity was estimated to be at 5% in early November.

Copper concentrate production at the mine reached 778,000 tonnes for the September quarter, down 15% year-on-year as it relied on the contractor workforce, while gold production slipped 5% by the same comparison to 1.12 million ounces.

The December quarter impacts are expected to be more severe.

Before the industrial action this year, which also included an eight-day strike in July, Grasberg was forecast to notch up 1 billion pounds of copper sales and 1.45Moz of gold sales in 2011, compared to the 1.2Blb of copper and 1.8Moz of gold sold in 2010.

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