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Papua police to probe Freeport`s collapsed tunnel case

23rd May 2013 | 4.240 Views
Papua police to probe Freeport`s collapsed tunnel case
Photo document of Big Gossan area at PT Freeport Indonesia, Tembagapura, Timika, Papua.(Doc.Freeport Indonesia)
Timika, Papua (ANTARA News) - Papua police have formed an investigation team to probe causes of the collapse of an underground training tunnel at Freeport Indonesia`s Big Gossan mine in the country`s easternmost province of Papua.

Papua provincial police chief, Inspector General Tito Karnavian said here on Thursday that such investigation is very important in effort to know whether or not the incident occurred due to

negligence, intentional case or a pure disaster.

The incident which occurred on Tuesday (May 14) at 07.30 in the morning killed 28 people while the other 10 survive.

Rescuers have recovered all 28 bodies buried under the debris at the Big Gossan collapsed underground training facility at US-owned PT Freeport Indonesia mine.

Tito said police will cooperate with related circles which have experts such as the mining inspector of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and geologists from academicians.

"We will treat them as expert witnesses because police are not experts in such case. The main point is to know causes of the incident," he said.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said an independent team set up by the government, led by mining technique professor of the Bandung Institute of Technology.

"The independent team will check everything technically," he said after receiving a full report on the accident from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc CEO Richard C Adkerson and Freeport Indonesia President Director Rozik B Soetjipto.

Freeport McMoran is the parent company of Freeport Indonesia.

The minister said the team will look into the collapse of the tunnel and recommend efforts to prevent a recurrence of similar accident.

"The cause of the accident is still unclear," he said, adding if based on the team`s findings the accident is caused by Freeport`s negligence the government will impose stern sanctions on it.

The team will also technically check the safety procedure of underground mining activities outside Freeport Indonesia`s Big Gossan mine, he noted.

Richard Adkerson meanwhile said Freeport will fully be responsible for the accident. "We are open to investigation."

He also said Freeport will provide the best compensation to the relatives of victims.

(Reporting by Evarianus Supar/B003/A014)