Freeport Indonesia, Union Pay Talks Enter Third Day

Grasberg mine
Image via Wikipedia

JAKARTA, July 22 (Reuters) – Negotiations between Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold and its workers in Indonesia over pay entered the third
day on Friday, industry sources said, as the mining giant reported
losses of copper and gold after a strike at its massive mine.

Chief executive Richard Adkerson said on Thursday the aggregate impact
of production lost during an eight-day strike at the Grasberg mine in
Papua province was 35 million pounds of copper and 60,000 ounces of
gold.

Adkerson also said the strike, which ended on July 13 and production
resumed a day later, led to a temporary suspension of all mining,
milling and concentration shipments from the mine.

“The talks are ongoing but the details are not disclosed to the
public,” said an industry source in Jakarta, who has seen Freeport’s
notice on the talks.

“The meeting is attended by PT Freeport Indonesia’s union team and
witnessed by representatives from the company’s management team.”

A Freeport spokesman in Jakarta did not reply to an email inquiry.

Union leaders started pay talks with the U.S. miner on Wednesday in
the Indonesian part of New Guinea, as they push for a doubling of
salaries for workers earning $1.50 per hour, saying other Freeport
workers around the world get 10 times that.

The company is negotiating with the union on a contract due to be
renewed in October.

The New York-listed firm reported a doubling in second-quarter
profits, citing soaring metal prices and higher copper sales than
expected at its North American mines, but said that costs are creeping
up and it expects to sell less copper in the third quarter.

That outlook, combined with a fall in copper price on Thursday and
some analysts’ concerns with the nagging uncertainties over the labour
situation in Indonesia, led to a more than 1 percent drop in Freeport
share price.

Gold was steady around $1,589 an ounce on Friday, not far from a
record around $1,609 hit on Tuesday. Three-month copper on the London
Metal Exchange edged down to around $9,650 a tonne.(Reporting by Lewa Pardomuan and Samuel Wanda; Editing by Ramthan Hussain)

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