PT Redpath Indonesia and PT Freeport Indonesia, past and future development of underground mines

Abstract PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) operates copper and gold mining operations in a mountainous area of the Mimika regency, near Tembagapura, Papua (formerly, Irian Jaya), Indonesia.

The mining and concentrating operations typically produce 240,000 metric tonnes per day of Copper and Gold ore from the combined mining of an 80,000 tonnes per day (ore) block cave operation (DOZ Mine) and a 160,000 tonnes per day (ore) open pit mining operation (Grasberg Open Pit). The Grasberg Open pit mine will be complete in 2016 at which time Freeport’s operations will convert to Underground. Mining operations will transition from today’s mixed surface and underground operation to full underground mining over the next 6 years.

This paper reviews the history of Redpath’s relationship with Freeport, beginning with a raiseboring contract in 1981 and evolving into vertical and horizontal development contracts of up to 37,700 equivalent meters of lateral development and 4,000 meters of vertical development in 2011. An overview of the current operations (PTFI’s Grasberg Open Pit and DOZ Underground Mines) and transition period (challenges for the transition from current to future underground mines) is presented with details of development of common underground infrastructure and future mines; Big Gossan Mine, DMLZ Mine, Grasberg Block Cave Mine, and the Kucing Liar Mine.

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