Production resumes at Freeport-McMoRan mine

Freeport-McMoRan resumes open-pit production at Indonesian mine after government gives OK

Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) -- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. said Monday that it has resumed open pit mining and other activities at a mine in Indonesia after receiving approval from officials in that country.

Indonesia's government had previously ordered that production at the massive gold and copper mine be halted as it investigated recent fatal accidents there.

An underground training facility at the Grasberg mine collapsed in May, killing 28 workers. A truck driver at the mine also died earlier this month, a day after he was injured when liquid ore material flowed into his vehicle.

Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan said Monday that production is resuming in phases. Open pit and milling operations have begun initially and underground operations are expected to be ramped up after further government approvals and inspections.

The company said it has conducted safety inspections throughout its operations and is working with government officials to resume underground operations "as soon as practical."

More than 20,000 workers are employed at the mine, which began operations in the 1970s.

Freeport-McMoRan said that through Friday the 38-day shutdown has reduced the mine's production by about 115 million pounds of copper and 115,000 ounces of gold, or about 3 million pounds of copper and 3,000 ounces of gold per day.

The ongoing suspension of underground operations continues to reduce production by 1 million pounds of copper and 1,000 ounces of gold per day, the company said.

Freeport-McMoRan shares fell $1.75, or 6.2 percent, to $26.41 in midday trading as metals and mining companies led a broad decline in the U.S. stock market.

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