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U.S. mining firm issues warning

July 16, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The U.S. mining company Freeport has ordered its 20,000 employees in Indonesia to avoid the only road to the world's largest gold mine in the wake of deadly ambushes by mysterious gunmen.

The wave of attacks that began Saturday marked the worst violence to hit Freeport's operations in the restive Papua province since the killings of three teachers, including two Americans, in 2002. At least 12 people have been killed or wounded in the attacks along the 40-mile road from Grasberg to the mountain mining town of Timika.

Mindo Pangaribuan, a spokesman for the Indonesian subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, said the road was declared off limits to Freeport workers because of "security reasons."

Investigators said they still do not know who is behind the attacks, but that the ammunition used is standard military and police issue.

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