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Australian killed near Papua mine

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An Australian man has been shot dead near the Grasberg mine in Indonesia's restive Papua province, say reports.

The man is reported to have been an engineer working at the gold and copper mine - one of the world's largest - owned by US giant Freeport McMoRan.

The mine has been a frequent source of unrest over its impact on the environment and the proportion of its revenues going to local people.

In 2002, two American teachers were shot dead in an ambush at the facility.

In a statement, Freeport McMoRan said a shot had been fired at one of its vehicles in the early hours of the morning.

The man who was killed had been sitting in the back of the vehicle and none of the other passengers was injured, said the company.

Police chief Bagus Ekodanto told Reuters the shooting had happened on the road between Tembagapura and Timika.

It is not clear who carried out the attack.

The resource-rich Papua province has been embroiled in separatist insurgency since the end of Dutch colonial rule in 1962.

Supporters of Papua independence see the mine - which has some of the world's largest recoverable copper and gold reserves - as a symbol of unfair rule from Jakarta.



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