24 Jul 2012

Freeport mining in Papua says operations approaching normal

10:39 am on 24 July 2012

Mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold in Indonesia's Papua says operations are approaching "normal" levels after a first quarter marked by labor disruptions.

Labour unrest at the world's third-largest open-pit copper mine took a toll on Freeport's profitability earlier this year.

A shut-down from late February to mid-March saw the company lose about 80 million pounds of copper and around 125,000 ounces of gold production, cutting first-quarter earnings by 49%.

However chief executive Richard Adkerson says operations at the open pit mine are returning to "normal"

Mr Adkerson says relationships with the workforce has improved significantly adding that the company has "made further progress to improve productivity.

He says Freeport continues to work "cooperatively" with the Indonesian government on the review of the company's contract of work agreement and on extending that contract to 2041 from 2021.

He declined further details of the talks, as discussions are ongoing.