The world's largest gold mine, operated by a us-based company in Timika, a mining town of Irian Jaya in the easternmost island of Indonesia, has been closed following largescale riots which broke out on March 15. The company, Freeport McMoran, confirmed the precautionary shutdown of operations. The company has been the target of protesters' ire in recent months for widespread damage to local sago forests, allegedly caused by thousands of tonnes of mining waste dumped in the local rivers every day. Tribals armed with stones and arrows attacked the mining company's facilities causing extensive damage. More than 500 soldiers from Irian Jaya were sent in -to control the situation. Activists in Irian Jaya, representing the protesters, said, "We are fighting against Freeport and the government ... because our rights are not recognised, our resources are extracted and destroyed while our lives are taken."
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