SOROWAKO, Indonesia, Aug 6 (Reuters) - PT International Nickel Indonesia (INCO.JK) said its nickel mine on Indonesia's Sulawesi island was operating normally on Thursday despite road blocks by about 500 villagers protesting over job cuts.
Last month, Inco said it planned to cut 87 jobs, nearly 3 percent of its workforce, to reduce costs in response to the global financial crisis.
Tri Rachman Batara, Inco's spokesman in Sorowako, Sulawesi, told Reuters that the villagers had blocked a road between the employees' housing area and the mine itself, forcing some employees to abandon their cars on the road.
"The mining operation is running as usual. There is no disruption and the police are negotiating with the villagers," Batara said, adding that company has sent cars to pick up standed employees.
Inco has around 3,400 employees, most of whom work at its mining site in Sorowako, South Sulawesi. It said the job cuts, which will affect workers near retirement age and some foreigners, will not affect this year's production which is likely to be 20 percent lower than in 2008.
Inco announced in May that it has revised down its capital expenditure this year to $166.4 million, from $228.8 million initially planned in February, reflecting a slump in global demand. (Reporting by Yusuf Ahmad in Sorowako and Fitri Wulandari in Jakarta, editing by Sara Webb)