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Death toll of Indonesia's mine incident rises to 28, operation remains suspended


16:32, May 22, 2013

JAKARTA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Death toll in underground mine incident at Indonesia's Freeport-Mc-MoRant Copper and Gold Inc. has increased to 28, with 10 people injured and operation of the firm remaining suspended, a minister and firm official said here on Wednesday.

Five people have suffered from serious injury and the other five got minor wounds, said Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik.

The evacuation was completed on Tuesday evening, said Wacik.

"The evacuation of the victims was difficult. By today ( Wednesday), 28 people inside the tunnel die," he told a joint press conference after meeting with Richard C Adkerson, President and CEO of Freeport McMorant Copper & Gold Inc..

Rozik B Soetjipto, President Director of PT Freeport Indonesia, told media that an investigation over the collapse of the Big Gossan tunnel on May 14 would be carried out.

Rozik said that the firm now was focusing on checking on the safety of all its underground mines and would conduct an investigation over the incident.

"We underline that we have not thought to resume operation. Our priority is to deploy our team to carry out inspections on all underground mine facilities," he said.

Rozik said that the suspension of the operation at the open and underground mines would decline the production of the firm, which he said it was at 220,000 tons ores per day.

An investigation team would be set up, comprising Indonesian and international mining and geothechnical science, said Richard at the conference.

"We are now focusing on reviewing safety throughout our underground operations and in determining what cause the collapse, " said Richard.

Minister Wacik said that he and Richard agreed to give financial compensation and scholarship for the children of the casualty by up to the level of university.

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