Strikes halt operations at Freeport McMoRan mines in Peru, Indonesia

The international price of copper has soared this week as strikes halted operations at two of the world’s largest mines, both owned by the multinational Freeport McMoRan. At Cerro Verde, in Peru‘s Arequipa region, some 1,200 workers walked out Sept. 14, following through on their threat to launch an indefinite strike to demand higher wages. The next day, 10,000 workers walked out at the company’s flagship Grasberg mine in West Papua, Indonesia, demanding that their pay be raised from the current $1.50 to $3 an hour to the global standard of at least $17 an hour. “We are disappointed that union workers decided to implement an illegal work stoppage,” local subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia said in a statement, asserting that the company “has negotiated in a diligent good-faith manner” with the union FSP-KEP, an affiliate of the ICEM. Freeport McMoRan president James Moffett earned $21.5 million last year. (WSJ, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, BBC News, Sept. 15; Rebanadas de Realidad, Argentina, Sept. 12)

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