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Indonesia mine collapse death toll rises to 21

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm •  Published: May 20, 2013
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TIMIKA, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers recovered another four bodies from a collapsed underground room at a giant U.S.-owned gold and copper mine in Indonesia, bringing the confirmed death toll to 21, mine officials said Tuesday. Seven others were believed buried under the rubble.

The Big Gossan underground training facility at the PT Freeport Indonesia mine collapsed last week when 38 workers were undergoing safety training. Ten injured miners were rescued.

A statement from the company said recovery efforts were continuing around the clock.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he had ordered two Cabinet ministers to personally investigate the accident, but their visits were rejected by the company because rescue efforts were still under way.

Mining operations at the Grasberg mine, owned by Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., have been suspended since the accident to pay respects to the victims and to concentrate on the recovery effort. The company said the accident was expected to have no significant impact on its operations.

"I will continue to order the ministers as well as other concerned officials to thoroughly discuss and investigate to find out what has to be done to ensure safety in the future," Yudhoyono said after presiding over a meeting to discuss the accident. "We will evaluate all mining companies in the country, not only Freeport."

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