May 14, 2013 11:11 AM by Czarina Nafarrate

Phoenix-based mine company issues statement on Indonesian mine collapse

UPDATE: Freeport confirms two people are dead from the mine collape.

PHOENIX - A mine collapsed overnight, in Indonesia trapping several workers underground. The Associated Press reporting that a tunnel inside the mine caved in at the giant, US-owned gold and copper mine.

The company that owns the mine is the Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.

According to Eric E. Kinneberg, director of external communications at Freeport-McMoRan, PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) believes that there were 40 employees and contract workers in the tunnel when the collapse occurred at about 7:30 am Indonesian time. Three workers apparently managed to escape unhurt from the scene.

PTFI rescuers say they have evacuated four of the 37 people who are believed to be trapped in the underground training facility. One of the victims is reported to be stable and will remain at the Tembagapura hospital.

Two others are being stabilized for medical evacuation. The fourth has just been evacuated and his injuries are being evaluated.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our employees and their families," said PT Freeport Indonesia Rozik B. Soetjipto. "Our first priority is on the search and rescue efforts and the safety of our workforce."

Although, the company says there are no reported fatalities, Soetjipto extended his condolences in advance to the families of the deceased.

According to Eric E. Kinneberg, Director of External Communication at Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold this event is not expected to have a material effect on mining and milling operations or development activities.

The area of the incident is located outside of mining areas at approximately 500 meters from the entrance of the Big Gossan Mine.

Soetjipto assures there will be updates as the rescue work progresses and that rescuers are determined to evacuate the remaining workers.


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