Open-pit operations at PT Freeport Indonesia’s Grasberg mine, the world’s No. 2 copper-gold mine, are now fully under way for the first time since Indonesia’s worst mining accident in recent memory at the remote West Papua site, according to company officials.
PT Freeport, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, halted all production on May 15, shortly after a training area in a tunnel caved in, killing 28 people. In late June, open-pit production stood at 60% capacity after partial Indonesian government approval. Underground inspections remain suspended as Indonesian regulators continue their investigation.
The open-pit complex normally produces between 140,000 metric tons (mt) and 150,000 mt of copper ore daily; output from underground operations amount to 80,000 mt. Following the accident, Freeport was forced to declare force majeure on shipments.