Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Ambush at West Papua Gold Mine

West Papua- another ambush on buses leaves 2 dead near US mining giant Freeport's Indonesia complex

Gunmen opened fire Wednesday on buses carrying employees of U.S. mining company Freeport in Indonesia's impoverished Papua province, killing two people in the latest attack on the world's largest gold mine.

Since July 11, at least a dozen people have been killed or wounded in ambushes along a road leading to the mine, prompting a massive security operation in the militarized zone that is off limits to foreign journalists.

The shootings resulted from a rivalry between the police and military over multimillion dollar illegal gold mining or protection businesses at the mine. The shootings were the worst violence at Freeport since the killing of three schoolteachers, including two Americans, in August 2002 that sparked widespread protests by locals who feel they are not benefiting from the depletion of Papua's natural resources.

Freeport employs about 20,000 people in Papua, where it has extracted billions of dollars worth of gold and copper and still has some of the largest reserves in the world.

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