Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype
Article placeholder image

Grasberg - deadly accident in Rio Tinto mine could have been prevented

19 March, 2014The roof collapse resulting in 28 deaths in the Grasberg mine in Indonesia in 2013 could have been avoided, according to the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission.

In May 2013 the roof on a non-operational underground tunnel collapsed during a training session at the Freeport-McMoran’s Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia killing 28 miners and injuring ten others. The accident, which can only be described as an industrial homicide, occurred during a safety course.

An investigation into the accident was held, from which IndustriALL Global Union affiliate CEMWU (FSPKEP-SPSI) was barred from active participation. Even though the report was not classified, the findings were not made public.

The Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has now found that company could have prevented the cave in at Grasberg that killed 28 people last year.

“PT Freeport had the ability to prevent this from happening but didn’t. The lack of effort jeopardized the lives of others. The gravity of this case is serious,” Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai said on Friday as quoted by kompas.com.

He also found that human rights violations were committed and called on the government to follow up the commission’s report by thoroughly investigating the incident to uncover any indications of negligence.

In the wake of the industrial accident at the Freeport-McMoran’s Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia, trade union delegates, including representatives from IndustriALL, travelled to the region on a solidarity mission in September 2013. The mission concluded that the cause of the accident was management negligence. No evidence of inspections or risk assessment performed before the accident could be provided.

Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary, says:  

“Rio Tinto paints a pretty picture when it comes to health and safety, but the reality says otherwise. They control 40 per cent of the Grasberg mine but have yet to take an equal responsibility.”

In order to avoid more tragedies in mining Rio Tinto must put their money where their mouth is and take the health and safety of their workers seriously.