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Seven die at Grasberg mine after Freeport cuts health coverage

Workers went on strike at Freeport’s Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia, in May. The company responded by firing 4,220 workers, cutting off their health insurance, access to education and other benefits. As our documentary film shows, workers and their families have faced a desperate struggle to survive after losing their source of income.

Seven Freeport workers have died as a result of having their health cover cut by Freeport. We remember the dead, and fight for the living.

  • Abrianto Rombe. Died after illness, 29 June 2017

Abrianto Rombe worked as a mechanic in the underground maintenance department, with nine years’ service at Grasberg. He leaves a wife and two children in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

  • Zeth Makisanti. Died after illness, 21 September 2017

Zeth Makisanti was a haul truck operator in the GRS Operation #2 department. He worked at Grasberg for seven years, and came from Sorong, West Papua. He leaves a wife and three children.

  • Nicolas Kabes. Died after illness, 7 October 2017.

Nicolas Karbes was a batchplan operator in the underground construction department. He worked at Grasberg for 17 years. After his wife died last year, his five children are now orphans.

  • Karolus Kasamol. Died after illness, 15 October 2017

Karolus Kasamol was a haul truck operator in the GRS Operation #4 department. He worked at Grasberg for nine years. He leaves a wife in Timika, West Papua.

  • Sattu Saung. Died after illness, 17 October 2017

Sattu Saung worked as part of the civil crew in the underground construction department. He worked at Grasberg for six years, and lived in Timika, West Papua. He leaves a wife and three children.

  • Marcel Sualang. Died by suicide, 3 November 2017

Marcel Sualang was an electrician in the GRS electrical shovel and drill maintenance department. He hanged himself in his home town of Manado, North Sulawesi, after being refused hospital treatment for his sick child. His BPJS health insurance card was rejected because it had been blocked by the company.

  • Irwan Dahlan. Died of kidney failure, 16 November 2017

Irwan Dahlan worked in the department of tram maintenance. He worked at Grasberg for 20 years, and leaves behind a wife and three children in Blitar, East Java.

These seven preventable deaths highlight the suffering at Grasberg. Thousands of people find themselves in an extremely precarious situation. The Grasberg mining crisis has created tension and instability in the region, including armed attacks on the main access road to the mine.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:

“It has been very sad for us to hear about these deaths, each one a tragedy for the friends and families left behind. IndustriALL Global Union sends its condolences.

“These men died because Freeport cut their access to health care to punish them for striking. This is an appalling violation of the human rights of the workers at Grasberg.

“Freeport is using the lives of its workers to score political points in its conflict with the Indonesian government over control of the mine.”


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