51 Workers Contract to Covid-19; Freeport Continues Operation



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaFreeport Indonesia has decided to continue its operation in Tembagapura, Mimika Regency, Papua, despite 51 of its employees testing positive for COVID-19.

    PT Inalum Mining Industry Holding or MIND ID, Freeport Indonesia shareholders, revealed that it has no plans, as of yet, to stop their operation.

    “As for operational closure, I don’t think that is an option, as our decision has been taken in consideration of procedures,” said Mind ID President Director Orias Petrus Moedak, in a press conference in Jakarta, on Friday, May 15.

    Previously, Mimika Regent Eltinus Omaleng had requested for the mining company to cease their operation. In addition, Papua Deputy Governor Klemen Tinal has also called for the company to suspend the mobility of their employees, from Tembagapura to Kuala Kencana; also a Freeport operational area.

    In spite of various calls for operational closure on social media, Orias revealed that no official letter from the local government has been received by PT Freeport Indonesia or MIND ID. 

    According to Orias, although the company has decided to continue its operation, the handling of COVID-19 in Freeport has been carried out with the safest health protocols in mind. 

    It has also suspended employees' mobility from Temnahapura to Kuala Kencana as requested by Papua Deputy Governor. Only the company’s operational logistics allowed to commute between the two locations.

    Since May 11, 2020, Freeport has continued efforts geared to enforce the company’s health protection system, by increasing the number of rapid and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests and enlisted more medical personnel on-site, as well as expanding isolation accommodations.

    Currently, with 25,000 employees on Freeport’s books, the company claims to be able to track COVID-19 transmission quickly, as 50,000 rapid test kits have been acquired.

    "We are grateful that the handling of COVID-19 patients has shown good results, with more and more employees having almost recovered," added Freeport Indonesia President Director Tony Wenas.

    FAJAR PEBRIANTO | Translator: DIO SUHENDA (Intern)