Tag Archives: Grasberg mine

JUBI: Papuans Will Survive without Freeport, says Papua Governor

Freeport mining area in Timika - energytoday.com

Jayapura, Jubi/BenarNews – During his visit the United States this week to attract more investment, President Joko Widodo, his ministers and officials in the field of economy were scheduled to officially meet with executives of US companies.

However, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno L.P. Marsudi denied the president would meet representatives from Freeport, which has an interest in obtaining a contract extension after 2021.
“Rumours in media that the president had a schedule to have breakfast with Freeport are not true,” said Retno was quoted in Solopos.

The US Company that operates the world’s largest gold mine and third largest copper mine in Papua, is enforcing the Indonesian Government to extend their Contract of Work while refer to the Indonesian regulation the extension could be approved two years prior the last contract was terminated. However, before his departure to the US, Jokowi gave a signal to Freeport could obtain the extension after the end of contract, it means in 2019.

No Intention to Develop Papua
In between the crowded debates and controversy about the contract extension for PT. Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in Mimika, the voices from Papua are rarely heard.

But for Papuans, this issue of contract extension is not only a matter of time. The Papua Governor Lukas Enembe was doubt the intention of PTFI to develop Papua.
“We submitted 17 points of Government’s Proposal consist of 11 points of Papua Government and 6 points of the Central Government in order to renegotiate with Freeport, including the Freeport’s involvement to build infrastructure in Papua, the increment of royalty and tax payment to the Provincial Government, share divestment, environmental issue and prioritizing Papuans to be employees. That’s our priorities,” Enembe told BeritaBenar on 17 October 2015.

He accused Freeport to have no intention to Papua’s development. He took Timika City as an example, that until now the city is lacking of feasible infrastructures. “Freeport has been operating since 1967, but what about Timika and how’s Papuan condition right now? Infrastructures in Timika are still underdeveloped. The number of indigenous Papuan workers in Freeport is not equal with the number of non-Papuan workers. If it continues like this, Freeport is better leaving. Without it, Papuans will still survive,” said the Governor Enembe.

The local authority estimates there are only 30 percent of the company’s employees are Papuans, while the rest are recruited from outside of Papua.

Further Enembe refers to the attitude of PTFI that according to him hindering the water surface tax payment.  Each year, Freeport should pay 360 billion rupiahs for the water surface tax, but the fact is up to now PTFI only paid approximately 1.5 billion for each year.
“Freeport took many advantages of the government’s rotation every five years, and violated the commitment made between the government and Freeport. And the government just ignored this fact. But it is clear, Freeport has to pay 360 billion rupiahs each year,” he said.

The Governor Enembe said the Provincial Government also support the policy taken by the Mimika Regional Government charging PTFI to pay a penalty amounted USD 3.6 billion or Rp 481 trillion to the indigenous tribes living in the surrounded mining area.
“It’s the people’s demand because Freeport has exploited the mountain and its materials since being operated, but never given the in kind benefits to the local community,” said Enembe.

It’s a Political Treaty, Not Business Agreement
Musa Sombuk, Lecturer at Papua State University and doctoral candidate at Australia National Univrsity thought the tax issue, profit sharing, and other issues that endured for years as consequences of PTFI’s contract of work is a “political agreement” rather an economic agreement between the company and the Indonesian Government.
“At first time doing operation, it was clear that Indonesia need a cash. Now, the Freeport’s contract is not transparent, unequal and the profit sharing is not fair. Freeport also did any means in order to gain land ownership,” said Sombuk.

When confirmed by BeritaBenar, PTFI spokesperson Riza Pratama declined to give comments on the renegotiation process with the Central Government, but he denied PTFI did the cunning ways in obtaining the land. He said the customary community at the PTFI mining area has gave their permission and tenure rights since PTFI started their operation for the first time. According to Reza, the company also has paid the penalty and is continuing the development program for indigenous communities at the surrounded the mining area.

Sombuk, who admitted his involvement in the audit of PTFI in 1997, said the company is not only taking the copper and gold, but also the tailing –sand waste containing the iron ore, that could reach 30 billion tons. Several grams of tailings, according to him, could result 1 gram of 23 carat gold. “Now there’s 30 billion tons of tailing and it must be gold-contained. Where will the gold from tailing go?” said Sombuk.
“Just imagine, Freeport should use the dump truck to dispose the tailing, but they just drain it to the Ajikwa River that is bearing the risk and impact to the people’s health and environment,” said Sombuk.

According to Sombuk, PTFI could survive until now because it gained support and facilities from the government, both regional and provincial. The vague regulation and the attitude of both government and company for not being transparent making the law enforcement is risk with the corrupt practice.

“We never know whether the local permits have any cost consequences. If it has, such as the charge on waste draining in Ajikwa River, we don’t know to whom it should pay and how much?” asked Sombuk. (Victor Mambor/rom)

WEST PAPUA: NZ Super Fund ends investment in Freeport mine over human rights breaches

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Item: 8112

WELLINGTON (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): Human rights breaches have prompted the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to end its investment in the huge Freeport McMoRan copper and gold mine in Indonesia’s West Papua region.

Until now, the fund, of just over US$15 billion, has had just over a US$1 million directly invested in the Grasberg mine, and had rejected calls that this was an inappropriate investment of public money.

But the manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor says the fund has become concerned at a recurrence of security issues at the mine and she says human rights breaches are a key factor.

“The context is such that there have been fatalities at the mine, that there have been reports by MSCI and other sources of information that these have breached human rights standards so we believe that the situation is one that could continue well into the future, and those are the standards that we look at when we considering reviewing the behaviour of companies.”

– The New Zealand Superannunation Fund’s manager for responsible investment, Ann-Maree O’Connor.

The NZ Green Party co-leader, Russel Norman said this was a very positive development.

“The people of West Papua will, I think, receive the information very gratefully, the fact that the New Zealand government, the New Zealand Super Fund is taking a stand against the terrible practices at this mine. I think it’s great news.”

Dr Russel Norman said it was “great” that the Super Fund was taking a stronger ethical stance.

PMW editor: The NZ Superannuation Fund’s involvement in the controversial Freeport mine was challenged in a major investigative article in Metro magazine last December.

The article, written by AUT communication studies student and photojournalist Karen Abplanalp, featured a long-running strike at the mine and the shooting of miners in “suspicious circumstances”.

The allegations were widely reported by Pacific Media Watch.

PMW article on the Super Fund issue

 

http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/west-papua-nz-super-fund-ends-investment-freeport-mine-over-human-rights-breache

 

RA: Freeport mine strike ends (interview with West Papua Media)

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  • Updated December 28, 2011 07:58:41

Thousands of workers at Freeport mine in Indonesia have ended their three-month strike for better wages, after a signing a pay-rise deal with the company.

Production at Freeport‘s giant gold and copper mine in Papua has been at a standstill since workers began their industrial action. The workers are expected to return to work this week, but there are reports the Papuan police chief will charge protest organisers with sedition.

Presenter: Melanie Arnost
Editor of West Papua Media Nick Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD: It’s seen to be a bit of a bitter sweet victory because whilst there have been ceremonies to enable peaceful resolution, the company, Freeport has given very little ground on the original demands and the Indonesian police in Papua have decided that they’re also going to charge the union leaders and the organisers with sedition.
ARNOST: What does this mean for the workers?
CHESTERFIELD: Well sedition is basically the charge under which everyone in West Papua gets charged if they raise the Morning Star flag. What it means is basically between 10 to 15 years in prison, and it’s not exactly a good faith act by the police. So there’s a lot of people who are going to be fearful. It’s designed by the police to stop anyone from taking legitimate industrial action by making out that it’s treasonous.
ARNOST: And how many workers are we talking about that look like they’ll be charged?
CHESTERFIELD: Well at the moment it’s looking at the union organisers, certainly the heads of the union and key organisers who’ve been manning the blockades and doing the education out there and doing what union organisers do on the ground during strikes. Whether or not they charge everyone, this is a question that the workers certainly want to have answered, and also one of their conditions in returning to work is there’s going to be no sanction on them for going on strike. There’s no real gains in wage justice for any of the workers there, I mean they were initially going for quite a significant pay rise, and in the end they’re getting less than seven dollars an hour for their efforts.
ARNOST: So why did they decide to end the strike?
CHESTERFIELD: At the end of the day companies like Freeport and the Freeport mine which is the most profitable mine on earth, it’s the largest gold and copper mine on earth. It doesn’t want to pay its workers, not its indigenous workers anyway. There’s an understanding simply that there was no willingness on behalf of management to even budge even a few cents. So any money is better than no money.
ARNOST: So these seven dollars, is that what they were originally being paid in the first place?
CHESTERFIELD: Look they were originally being paid about a dollar 50 to three dollars an hour. So certainly there have been a few increases but it’s far less than what they’re asking for and there’s no real guarantees of safety and security, and especially security from these ongoing attacks by unknown forces, which the police and military seem to not want to solve.
ARNOST: When do you expect the workers will return to work?
CHESTERFIELD: It could be any day but nothing is entirely guaranteed until we get the pictures from the ground really.
ARNOST: It’s said to be the longest in recent Indonesian history this strike, so do you predict something like this happening again?
CHESTERFIELD: Look certainly there’s an appetite for industrial action in Indonesia and certainly in West Papua. Certainly the Freeport Mine’s got to be separated in some way obviously from the independence struggle in West Papua, but there’s certainly issues of corporate behaviour and corporate impact on surrounding environments and surrounding social dislocation that workers have really switched on to. You can’t unlearn what you’ve gone through in a situation like that, so certainly there’s more of a willingness to take this kind of action. And they’ve certainly learnt a lot of lessons from it.

8000 workers walk – video from the Freeport Miners Strike

Freeport Miners' Strike

Freeport Miners’ Strike

“Video from the three month long strike at Freeport Mine in West Papua, police repression and actions in solidarity with the miners. Produced by traverser11 with music by Airi Ingram.”

Involves westpapuamedia.
Video supplied by:

SPSI Freeport (miners Unions)
West Papua Media
Lococonut
Theagapaipho
WPACTION Network
Yerry Nikholas
Beni Pakage

and public domain content from
Al Jazeera English
Reuters

 [vimeo http://vimeo.com/32762098]

Related articles

Why Now? A West Papua Backgrounder

from our partners at New Matilda.com

By Jim Elmslie

Papuans demand referendum.

NM has kept a close eye on West Papua as pressure in the breakaway Indonesian province builds. Long-time Papua watcher Jim Elmslie explains why the situation has escalated – and may get worse in coming months

Two seminal events have shattered the uneasy status quo in West Papua: a labour strike at the Freeport mine, and the declaration of an independent West Papua at a landmark mass meeting of Papuan nationalists, the Third Papuan Congress.

Papuans are in a weak position to effectively pursue any policies that would improve their situation, or move towards the desired goal of many — independence. In fact their situation continues to deteriorate as more non-Papuan migrants arrive and the militarisation of West Papua continues unabated.

By 2010 the indigenous Melanesian population comprised slightly less than half the total population of 3.6 million. Military repression has contained, but done nothing to abate, Papuan resistance to what many perceive to be their “slow-motion genocide”.

It is hard to disentangle the history of the Freeport mine from the larger history of West Papua since the Indonesian takeover.

Indonesia took West Papua by diplomacy backed by military force: a force that no other country, including Holland, was ultimately prepared to oppose. President Sukarno and his successor, President Suharto, felt fully entitled to the riches of West Papua, won in the face of adversity.

The greatest of these riches has been the Freeport mine, the most valuable mining operation in the world. It was imposed on the Amungme people against their will and has been dominant in the political economy of West Papua ever since. The Freeport mine is very much a metaphor for the occupation of West Papua by the Indonesians and developments at the mine site cannot help but have profound effects across the entire country.

The status quo at the mine has been irrevocably transformed by the miners’ strike.

Blowing up the diesel and concentrate pipelines and blocking the mine access road has not only temporarily crippled the mine; it has permanently weakened the company. Once the epitome of aggressive American capitalism, it is now a victim of its own success, beholden to many forces and actors beyond its control which threaten the very survival of the company in Indonesia. Whether it be Papuan tribesmen, Indonesian unionists, theTNI or nationalist politicians in Jakarta, many people are out to get Freeport.

This phenomenon loosely coincides with the world-wide movement against authoritarian regimes (such as the Arab Spring) and against capitalist excess (such as the Occupy Wall Street movement). These movements have at least partly been fueled by the technological revolution that has thrown up new forms of communication such as the internet, mobile phones, Facebook and You Tube. Whereas Freeport and West Papua have always been hidden by their remoteness, they are now no more remote and disconnected from the rest of the world than anywhere else. What has worked in the past will no longer suffice.

Similarly the shooting by the TNI of unarmed protestors after the Third Papuan Congress did not take place in a vacuum. Within minutes of the first shots being fired news reports were being sent out by SMS, followed by mobile phone calls, emails, Facebook postings and uploads on You Tube.

Organisations around the world, such as Human Rights Watch in New York, were quick to condemn the shootings.

In Australia, Greens Senator Richard Di Natale moved a motion in the Senate calling for an end to military aid for Indonesia — a motion that now will have to be taken seriously as the Greens hold the balance of power in the Australian Parliament. There was no public condemnation of the shootings and associated human rights abuses from the Australian government, reflecting its extreme reticence to criticise Indonesia and the fragility of the relationship — at least over the issue of West Papua.

Other countries were not so constrained. Lord Avebury, Vice-chair of the UKParliamentary Human Rights Group, said, “this appalling display of excessive force has no place in a modern democracy”. In the US, Congressmember Eni Faleomavaega, well known for his outspoken support for West Papuans’ human rights, wrote a letter to the Indonesian Ambassador to the US, Dino Patti Djalal. Faleomavaega expressing his concerns about the Congress shootings and calling for the safety, “humane treatment” and immediate release of Forkorus Yaboisembut.

The geo-political importance of Indonesia, as a “moderate” Islamic nation, emerging economic force and potential bulwark against growing Chinese power, tended to mute further negative comment.

While the old status quo has been shattered with the strike and the Third Papuan Congress, no new equilibrium is in sight. In fact by 4 November the workers’ strike had coalesced with the Papua peoples’ political demands when tribesmen joined the strikers at the Freeport blockade and successfully fought back police attempts to break through. The tribesmen were drawn in by the strike and, armed with spears and arrows were expressing their own grievances over land rights, pollution and (lack of) compensation from the mine.

This was a seminal event in the political evolution of West Papua wherein all of the different agendas — and different sets of players — have come into play together at the political and economic heart of West Papua: the Freeport mine.

Freeport will probably (but not certainly) reopen in the coming months and resume production, but the mine and the company will now live forever in the shadow of the events of the past six weeks. The next attack will always be hanging imminent: maybe tonight; maybe never. But the illusion that the mine is safe and secure is gone forever. It is, for the time being, a defenseless victim which can be brought to a grinding halt at will. The security bought with the tens of millions paid to the TNI and police has proved to be no security at all; on the contrary those payments have made the mine even more vulnerable. All those billions seem up for grabs now.

Politically West Papua is in an even more chaotic and dangerous stalemate. Papuan aspirations for independence are being expressed ever more openly, defying the guns and threats, defying what most observers would see as logic: that independence seems an impossible dream. The Papuans believe that God is on their side; that history will vindicate them; that, like East Timor, their day will come and their imprisoned nation will one day be free.

Simultaneously the Indonesian nationalist position has hardened: the Papuans are seen as traitors trying to break up the nation and deserving of armed response, of death. Against this there are elements of Indonesian society that are considerably more flexible and nuanced in their understanding of the West Papuan conflict, exemplified by leading academic researcher, Muridan Widjojo, who has co-authored an important study on West Papua which strongly advocates negotiations.

Indeed, by 10 November even President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was starting to talk about dialogue, but with such restrictive preconditions — predictably the non-negotiability of sovereignty, but also the centrality of Special Autonomy — that many Papuans may baulk at participation, sensing another pointless exercise in propoganda. Meanwhile the real power continues to reside with the military in West Papua, which clearly views separatism as a traitorous threat to national sovereignty and negotiation or concessions as a sign of weakness.

As the currents that are rippling across the rest of the world inexorably flow through cyber space and into the computers, smart phones and consciousness of Papuans, the scene is set for an ever-bigger confrontation. The trends are ominous, and the process structurally violent.

Other nations, particularly Australia (as near neighbour, Indonesian military ally and home to the most significant foreign based corps of pro- free West Papua supporters — both Papuan and non-Papuan) are being drawn into this struggle. Just as Australia was drawn into the East Timor struggle, against the fervent wishes of both the conservatives and the Labor Party, Australia is now involved in West Papua.

If nothing else the Lombok Treaty signed in 2007 makes Australia a virtual military ally of Indonesia. One purpose of the treaty was to suppress support for West Papuan separatism, particularly in Australia. Official Australia is, therefore, directly participating in the repression of the Papuans, as it participated in the Indonesian occupation of East Timor with military cooperation and diplomatic support. This reflected the view within Australia’s foreign policy establishment that erroneously saw East Timor’s status as an Indonesian province as final (as they now see the status of West Papua). Eventually the Australian public rejected this position over East Timor; the same is likely to happen over West Papua as an understanding of the situation there filters out.

However the cards unfold the situation in West Papua will likely get much messier and more violent. The possibility of a quiet genocide occurring is real. Australia must come to expect this and realise that the future relationship between Australia and Indonesia will be forged in how our respective nations deal with this difficult and traumatic conflict, not through trade deals and jaunts to Bali. In this context, the call by Senator Richard Di Natale to cut military ties with Indonesia is the best immediate policy response available and should be widely supported.