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Komnas HAM Claims Big Gossan Tragedy is a Human Rights Violation

JAKARTA - The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) released its findings on the case of the collapse of Big Gossan tunnel that killed 28 miners of PT Freeport Indonesia last year.

“PT Freeport Indonesia has the ability to prevent this from happening but in fact, it did not. The Lack of effort jeopardized the lives of others. This case is serious, ” Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai,said on Friday (2/14), as quoted from kompas.com,

Pigai said, the National Commission on Human Rights has a sufficient evidence to bring the PT Freeport Indonesia into the realm of law, in this case the head of mining engineering, operations supervisors and technical managers. They could be charged criminally based on the draft Criminal Code (Criminal Code).
“In Article 359 of the Criminal Code mentioned, whoever causes the death of another person, shall be punished by a maximum of five years or a maximum imprisonment of one year,” he said.

The same investigation has also been conducted by the central government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, local government through the Department of Mines, and the police. Yet somehow, the government just remains silent.
“They all have done the investigation, but after that they are silent and do not take any further action on this case. The police found there was an inference of negligence, but only given compensation, ” Natalius said.

Furthermore he said, the results of such investigations will be submitted to the Freeport Head Office in the United States.

Based on the data collected by TablodJubi.com, there are three dangerous factors known in the tunnels under ground mining that should be Freeport’s concern. First is the movement of rocks in the tunnel, secondly, the danger of toxic gas in the tunnel and; third is the danger of flooding. Freeport seems to ignore the movement of rocks in the tunnel. This is shown  by the use of plasterboard for each classroom in the tunnel at the Big Gossan mine.

In response to these incidents, General Secretary of the Federation of Chemical Energy and Mining (FSPKEP-SPSI), Subiyanto said, there is no underground mining which its roof is given plasterboard.
“So, when it is cracking, can be noticed,” he said.

10 workers who survived were also admitted, at the time of the incident they heard the sound of rocks falling on roofs but the management ignored it.

Big Gossan is an underground mine, has a high-grade deposit located near Freeport Indonesia’s mining complex at Grasberg. It was developed into open stoping, using backfill results of tailings and cement. This is a new methodology designed for PT Freeport. The production which began in the fourth quarter of 2010 was designed to reach the top of 7,000 metric tons of ore per day by mid-2013. This equates to an annual average of additional aggregative production of 125 million pounds of copper and 65,000 ounces of gold. PT Freeport Indonesia received 60 percent of this amount. The capital investment for this project is estimated about $ 550 million, of which the shares of PT Freeport Indonesia reached a total value of approximately $ 518 million. The project cost alocated $ 494 million has been incurred up to December 31, 2011 ($ 50 million for 2011).

Although the Big Gossan mine is a new method for the operation of PT Freeport Indonesia, Freeport is very confident over the years. Big Gossan was considered very sturdy and well established. And minerals to be mined are compatible with manufacturing facilities at their disposal. Big Gossan mining method also provided a flexible production profiles that can be started and stopped without any impact on the working capital reserves; since the demand for labor and equipment fluctuated by other larger cave block that is also being developed by Freeport. [Jubi]

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