Four killed in tribal clash in Indonesia's Papua

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TIMIKA, Indonesia, Oct 17 (Reuters) Four people were killed in a clash between rival tribes using bows and poisonous arrows near U S mining firm Freeport's Grasberg mine in Indonesia's Papua province, police said today.

About 30 policemen were deployed to tighten security at Tembagapura, 6 miles from Freeport-McMoran Copper&Gold's mine in Timika, following the clash over jobs and housing, a police officer said.

The mine -- believed to have the world's third-largest copper reserves and one of the biggest gold deposits -- has been a frequent source of controversy over its environmental impact and the share of revenue going to Papuans.

''Four men died in the clash which started yesterday and ended today. Police have already deployed 30 policemen to secure the area,'' police officer Yance Ikomou said.

Mindo Pangaribuan, spokesman for Freeport Indonesia, said the clash had not affected Freeport's activities. ''Everything went smoothly today. Nothing affected production,'' he told Reuters.

Indonesia has large quantities of mineral resources, but foreign business executives say investment could be much higher if the regulatory environment was simplified and issues such as graft and labour laws were addressed.

Mining investment in Indonesia, which has some of the world's largest deposits of coal, copper, gold, tin and nickel, averaged 800 million dollars annually between 2001 and 2005.

REUTERS RSA RN2058

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