Gunmen killed a company security guard on Friday near Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's strike-bound Grasberg mine, police said, in the latest violence to beset the U.S. firm's paralysed Indonesian operations.

Violence in remote Papua province has escalated during the two-month strike that has halted production at the world's second biggest copper mine and led Freeport to declare a force majeure on exports last month.

The latest shooting, in a region gripped by sporadic violence because of a separatist movement, occurred near a bus terminal from where employees set out for the mountain mine.

Unknown gunmen shot a patrol car, and the driver was wounded with a gunshot in the head and died, said a police officer, who declined to be identified.

He said a police officer was also shot in the incident and was in critical condition, but offered no further details.

Freeport Indonesia's spokesman Ramdani Sirait confirmed there had been a shooting, but did not elaborate.

Security concerns are hampering the firm's efforts to repair sabotaged pipelines that take copper concentrate from the mine to its port in Papua in Indonesia's easternmost province.

Freeport is hoping to resolve the strike over pay, Indonesia's longest mining stoppage, by Christmas.

Human rights activists have urged U.S. President Barack Obama, in Indonesia on Friday for a regional meeting of leaders, to raise concerns over rights abuses linked to the separatist movement and security at the Freeport mine with his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

(Reporting by Samuel Wanda; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Ron Popeski)