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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (August 6, 1998 - ANTARA/KABAR IRIAN/Irian News)---Freeport Indonesia, now considered the world's second largest producer of gold and third largest producer of copper, is mining the world's largest and richest mining site, the company said in a statement.

Freeport Indonesia has launched various mineral explorations in Irian Jaya, the main site of its mining activities, especially in the Ring of Fire, it said.

The Ring of Fire is an area where the Pacific rim and the Indo-Australia rim meet, an area particularly rich in minerals.

The statement said that when Freeport Indonesia began operations in Irian Jaya in the early 1970s, it only controlled a concession area of 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres), which eventually grew to 1.3 million hectares (3.25 million acres) in 1991.

Freeport Indonesia, the first company to join Indonesia's foreign investment (PMA) scheme, has earmarked US$ 50 million per annum to finance its explorations in Irian Jaya, it said.

Its Grasberg mining site, located some 70 kilometers (42 miles) from Timika, capital of Mimika district, has large gold and copper deposits, it added.

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