Fatal accident at a nickel mine in Morowali, Indonesia

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On the afternoon of 24 December 2023, a fire broke out in the nickel smelter PT ITSS (Indonesia Tsingshan Stainless Steel), one of the companies in the PT IMIP (Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park) area. So far, the death toll is 19, plus 32 workers who have been seriously injured and are currently being treated in hospital.

The Fair Electronics Campaign denounces the facts and the lack of measures to ensure health and safety at the mine by PT ITSS, as well as the complicity of the Indonesian government with extractive companies, which is not properly monitoring the implementation of the law on health and safety in the country, nor is it being transparent with the investigation processes of incidents like these, which continue to occur at the mine since the start of this project. Twenty incidents have been recorded up to December 2023.

We also denounce a transition model based on growth, the continued extraction of raw materials and the establishment of ‘sacrifice zones’ that does not take into account the damage caused to people and territories.

The Morowali nickel mine and smelter are part of President Jokowi’s National Strategic Project, and is projected as an industry that supports the energy transition. Nickel is one of the raw materials considered critical by the EU for the ecological transition, as it is a key mineral for the manufacture of electric batteries for electric vehicles.

We express our condolences to the families of the victims and our support for the statement and demands issued by the Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggle (Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia – GSBI), a fellow member of the Good Electronics network.

The demands are:

  1. PT ITSS – IMIP and the Government of Indonesia must take full responsibility for the recovery of all victims of the PT ITSS Nickel smelter furnace explosion, and provide adequate compensation as well as livelihood guarantees, and education for the children of victims who died. As well as the certainty of getting a job for the future of the children of the victims who die
  2. Immediately form an Independent Investigation Team involving elements of Trade Union Organizations, NGOs, Komnas HAM, and ILO to ensure the results of the investigation into the deadly work accident tragedy at PT ITSS get objective results.
  3. Stop the intimidation carried out by PT ITSS against workers who want to report or provide information freely on the working conditions that caused the tragedy of 19 workers dead and dozens of workers moderately-heavily injured due to the Deadly Tragedy of Work Accidents at PT ITSS – Morowali.
  4. Guarantee and Respect the basic rights of workers, including the right to freedom of expression, the right to organize, including the right to strike! All of this is guaranteed by Indonesian legislation and also the ILO Convention.
  5. Fully implement and enforce the OHS system in the workplace and ensure the availability of complete and appropriate PPE in accordance with the law.
  6. Impose strict sanctions against OHS violations that are alleged to have become a long-standing practice of PT ITSS.
  7. We demand, stop claiming the nickel downstream project is a clean energy transition project. And we also demand that the Climate Crisis and a just energy transition be resolved fundamentally. Namely, changing the agricultural production system as a whole which requires the elimination of the monopoly power of landlords over rural farmers, and build of national industrialization that serves the advancement of agricultural production systems and increased agricultural productivity for food security and the opening of the widest possible employment opportunities free from foreign investment intervention.