At least 115 expatriates leave Freeport

Timika, Papua (ANTARA News) – The Immigration Office in Tembagapura, Timika, said at least 115 expatriate workers have left PT Freeport Indonesia and its sub-contractors after the US mining company stopped operation.

Freeport Indonesia abruptly stopped production on February 10, 2017 and started to dismiss thousands of workers. It already laid off 10 percent of its foreign workers.

The subsidiary of the mining giant McMoRun Copper & GoldIt employs 32,000 people in Indonesia, about 12,000 of whom are full-time employees.

The freeze was a reaction to a shakeup in Freeport’s 30-year contract with the Indonesian government, signed in 1991. Indonesia has tried to levy additional obligations from Freeport in an attempt to increase domestic revenue from its natural resources.

An official of the Tembagapura Immigration Office Dede Sulaiman said here on Saturday , most of the 115 expatriates are from Australia and the United States.

The 115 expatriates returned with members of their families . There worked for PT Freeport Indonesia, PT Redpath, PT RUC and PT JDA, Dede said .

Until now there are still more than 700 expatriates working in Mimika mainly for the sub-contractors of PT Freeport.

Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan has asked PT Freeport Indonesia to respect the Indonesian regulations that changed the status after the expiration of contract of work.

The government gave the company6 an option – to keep its contract of work but build a smelter to process it copper concentrate in the country as the government has banned export of unprocessed minerals.

Luhut said that the government has taken a clear stance in the situation and will not step back from the regulations.

“Freeport needs to realize that this is B to B (Business to Business). Freeport has been operating here for almost 50 years. They need to respect our constitutions,” he said.

Freeport, which operates the countrys largest copper and gold mines in Papua, have been in disagreement over new status of contract and a number of contract terms.

Freeport has threatened to bring the case to an international arbitrary court and the government said it was ready to meet the challenge.

Source: Antara News