Freeport Hit by Floods and Mudslide, Conducting Recovery Operation at the Mine 

15 February 2023

High-intensity rain fell in the area around the mine belonging to PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) di Tembagapura. Consequently, some parts of the area were flooded, and mudslides reportedly occurred in other parts. According to a posting uploaded to a PTFI official Instagram account, rain had been falling hard in the mining area since Saturday 11 February 2023, continuing to Sunday 12 February 2023.

“Extreme heavy rainfall in the Freeport Indonesia mining area in Tembagapura on Saturday (11/02/2023) led to floods and mudslides in the Mile 74 area, damaging infrastructure in the vicinity of the mill and mine road. Mining and processing activities have been temporarily halted to allow for a recovery process,” PTFI posted on Wednesday (15/2/2023). The posting showed several locations inundated with water. There were also several photos showing strong currents of water flowing along the sides of the mine road.  Several heavy equipment could be seen cleaning up the areas covered by debris from a rockfall.  1 excavator was observed to  be considerably covered in rock that had fallen on it. 


Cleanup Operation

PTFI immediately launched a cleanup operation. Still according to the same posting, cleanup personnel have been working since Sunday night. “Since Sunday (12/02/2023) night, we have been striving to clean up the impacted area, which encompasses the concentrating mill, conveyor, office buildings, the west gully tunnel, and the mine road," PTFI disclosed. "We are also studying the impacts from the incident and we are drawing up a recovery plan for resumption of our operation,” the company continued. 

PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) has suspended mining and processing activities. The decision was made by Freeport Indonesia to suspend its operation as parts of the mining area and the concentrating mill were covered with mud. Freeport Indonesia President Director Tony Wenas said in addition to flooding in parts of the mill location, several sections of the mine road have been damaged. “As such mining and processing activities have been temporarily halted for the recovery process,” he said as cited from Antara, on Sunday (12/2/2023). A PTFI Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) team is carrying out necessary actions in a recovery process for the mining area impacted by high intensity rainfall on Saturday. 

He said Freeport Indonesia rescued and evacuated 14 employees who had been trapped and stranded in an office building, and they are currently in sound condition. “We are thankful there were no reports of human casualty resulting from this incident, and our utmost priority is the safety of all employees working on the site,” he said.  He added, since Saturday night on 11 February 2023, the company has been steadily carrying out cleanup and recovery efforts is a safe manner in constancy with  its priority to allow for its operation to resume to a normal condition as expected. “The situation in Tembagapura, specifically in the mill area at MP 74 is currently well under control,” he said again.

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