November 14, 2017 / 3:40 AM / a year ago

Freeport Indonesia closes mine access road again after shooting

TIMIKA, Indonesia (Reuters) - The Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc closed the main access road to its giant copper mine in the eastern province of Papua on Tuesday for the second time in three days after another shooting incident.

A Freeport vehicle was hit by gunfire while it was heading from Tembagapura to Ridge Camp, the company said in a statement, referring to an area where Freeport workers live.

One passenger in the vehicle “suffered a bullet wound to his thigh” but was in a stable condition at a local clinic, according to the statement.

Security apparatus were on the scene investigating the incident, it said.

One source initially described the vehicle as a “patrol car”. The Freeport statement said it was a “light armored vehicle”.

It is the second time the access road to the Grasberg mine has been closed since Sunday, and follows a string of shooting incidents since mid-August that have injured at least seven people and killed one police officer.

The violence has escalated security concerns around the mine to their highest level in more than five years.

The separatist West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM), a group linked to the Free Papua Movement, has said it is at war with police, military and Freeport.

It was not immediately clear if TPN-OPM were behind the latest shootings.

Writing by Fergus Jensen in JAKARTA; Reporting by Sam Wanda in TIMIKA; Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue

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