* Firm restarts some operations with government approval
* Initial output small; company aims to lift it gradually
By Michael Taylor and Kanupriya Kapoor
JAKARTA, June 22 Freeport McMoRan Copper and
Gold Inc has restarted some operations at the world's
second biggest copper mine after receiving approval from the
Indonesian government, a senior company official told Reuters on
The Arizona-based company has slowly resumed open-pit mining
at its Grasberg complex in eastern Indonesia, more than a month
after a training tunnel collapsed, killing 28 people in one of
Indonesia's worst mining accidents. Underground production
"The open-pit is already allowed to be open," Freeport
Indonesia President Director Rozik Soetjipto said in a telephone
interview. "At the beginning of course, there will only be a
very, very small amount of production because we have to prepare
everything and gradually increase production."
An energy ministry spokesman said the government granted its
approval late on Friday after state officials completed their
Union miners, who make up three-quarters of the 24,000
Freeport workers, were returning to work at the Grasberg mine.
"What we are doing now is mainly maintaining the mine and
equipment because it has been left by workers for a period of
time," said union spokesman Juli Parorrongan.
The open-pit mine normally produces around 140,000 tonnes of
copper ore per day, while output from underground operations is
Freeport was forced to declare force majeure on shipments
due to the prolonged closure of the mine.