Indonesia Strike Hits US Mining Giant

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 9:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Thousands of miners have gone on strike in one of the world's biggest copper and gold mines, located in Indonesia's Papua province.

About 8,000 workers took part in the industrial action Wednesday at the mine run by the U.S. firm Freeport McMoRan. Some of the strikers blocked the main access road to the mining area, north of the coastal city of Timika.

The workers, who earn about $1.50 per hour, are demanding higher pay, saying their wages are low compared to the company's employees in other countries.

The Jakarta Post newspaper reports that Freeport employees have proposed a week-long strike and that they also are protesting the recent firing of six of their colleagues.

Freeport says the strike has not affected all shipments, although the company has declined to say if production and operations have been disrupted.

Papua is a resource-rich region in the west of New Guinea island. The Freeport mine sits on some of the world's biggest gold reserves and is one of the largest copper producers.