The deputy chairman of Commission IV of the Indonesian parliament, Firman Soebagyo, said that Freeport’s IPPKH (Forestry Area Use loan) has done nothing to improve conditions for the local communities and the company has failed to involve local human resources and the economic community in general in the areas, with the people continuing to be very poor.

The environmental impact has led to the loss of vegetation and biodiversity in the protected forestry areas that have been exploited. ‘The quality of the water has deteriorated and the environment and mangrove forests have been damaged downstream of the river.’

He said that as a member of Commission IV, he was very concerned  about Freeeport’s IIPKH license which has caused problems for local development and the welfare of the local communities. He quoted forestry ministry data that indicated that Freeport was one of thirteen companies exploiting forestry areas which includes 10,000 ha in Mimika and another 202,980 ha in Mimika, Paniai and Jayawjaya.

JUBI reported that members of the commission had gained access to data that Freeport does not have license to operate in protected forests from the forestry ministry as required under Law 41/1999. The company has been  operating in Papua since 1967 which means that the world’s biggest mining company has not been paying  the required taxes known as Non-Tax Levies to the State (PNBP) as a result of which the country has suffered the loss of tens of billions of rupiahs. The company has ignored two requests regarding this license.

Firman also said while Freeport contributes Rp.400 billion annually to the local people, the facts on the ground show that the local people are still suffering, while children are unable to get a decent education. He said that with the seas having been turned into dry land because of the impact of the tailings, Freeport should be held accountable for damaging the biodiversity and destroying people’s livelihoods. He would therefore recommend that the government should stop issuing any more licenses to the company.


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