Papua Mine Operations Stopped After Cave-In Deaths

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Indonesian police say situation at mine still ‘volatile’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 15, 2013) – Rescue work is continuing at the giant Freeport-McMoran gold and copper mine in Indonesia’s Papua province after a tunnel collapsed on Tuesday, trapping more than 20 workers.

Police say four miners died and 10 others were evacuated after the tunnel caved in at the Grasberg mine.

Police add the situation at the mine is still thought to be volatile.

The company says Freeport has suspended all operations at the mine out of respect for the workers killed.

The head of Freeport’s Indonesia unit says it is a temporary suspension out of sympathy for the victims but also due to some safety considerations around underground operations.

He adds the accident has had no effect on the open mining pit at Grasberg.

Freeport, which is handling the rescue operation, said in a statement on Tuesday that the rescue process is difficult and will take some time to complete.

About 40 workers were undergoing safety training at the time of the tunnel’s collapse.

The condition of the 10 people who were rescued is not known.

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