MAC: Mines and Communities

Inco protests held around the world

Published by MAC on 2005-09-16

Inco protests held around the world

16th September 2005

Summary via JATAM

On the eve of the grand opening of the 'Inco Innovation Centre' at Memorial University (go to to see the headline news), communities at Inco sites around the world are struggling for rights.

- Public rally against Skye (owned in part by Inco) in Guatemala held earlier this week where 1000 some Q'uechi Mayans united to reject a return to mining in El Estor.

- A communique from the South pacific island country of New Caledonia states that an action was held on Sept 12 called "Mine Morte" in memory of the destroyed mountain summits, the ravaged forests, valleys and lakes, the polluted lagoon, the relocated and devastated peoples and the miners who have died.

- Here is a quick translation of a message below (in Bahasa) just in from Makassar, Indonesia

Friends, Greetings of solidarity, Makassar, 15 September 2005

Approx. 300 university students and 8 people from Sorowako relocated for PT Inco's mine held a demonstration in front of the provincial parliament office. They demanded that PT Inco resolve the issue of relocation and severance of 250 employees that did not follow procedures or the Labour Act. On September 12, a similar action occurred. At that time the local parliament promised to meet with the affected community and the President Director of PT Inco on September 15. However, September 15 came and this promise was not fulfilled so a mass descended upon the PT Inco regional office in Sulawesi. After speeches that lasted about 20 minutes, university students, NGO reps, and affected community members tried to negotiate a meeting with the PT Inco President Director from Jakarta. After lobbying and negotiating with the Sulawesi PT Inco deputy director Idham, a meeting with the President Director still was not confirmed so the mass decided to hold a sit-in action at the office until the PT Inco President Director made himself available. Tonight, over 100 remain at the PT Inco office.

Quick summary of the many news stories below about the Inco sit in/hunger strike (19 September):

The sit in by Inco affected community members and university students at the PT Inco regional office in Makasssar has entered day 4. The people are determined not to leave untul they meet with PT Inco main director Bing R Tobing.

According to PT Inco external relations Edi Suhardi, the problem that involves the Dongi, Patea and Sorowako people is in the process of being resolved but it is very difficult to arrange a meeting with their director.

Several people are on a hunger strike but some have ended it (university students needing to go back to school). They wrapped their mouths with a piece of material that read hunger strike action. Medical checks found that some were in ill health and were advised to stop the hunger strike. Some began drinking water and showed signs of improved health but continued to fast.

Other media reports stated that dozens of people are eating, sleeping, showering and praying at the PT Inco regional office. The mass are occupying the visitor's room, the meeting room and the yard of the office while PT Inco continues some of its operations as usual. A 14 year old boy said we would not leave the office until his community's demands were fulfilled.

This action follows several demonstrations at the local government offices.

The community are demanding pensions for the workers who have been given severance and compensation for the land now in control of PT Inco in Sorowako.

Another action at the local government office by the local legal aid group, unions and others demanded that PT Inco stop mining activities that are destroying the environment.

The Indonesian parliament is forming an investigation team to look at a resolution to the land compensation and worker issues.

Protests and Blockades Continue Against Inco in Indonesia

Press Release - Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), MiningWatch Canada, Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility (CESR)

September 28, 2005

Today, Wednesday, September 28, 2005, over five hundred people are staging a blockade at the PT Inco mine site in Sorowako, Indonesia while facing intimidation by hired men to deter the action and create horizontal conflict within the community. Several people earlier detained by police for several hours have been released.

The blockade follows demonstrations, and a week long sit-in and hunger strike at the Inco regional office in Makassar, Indonesia by community members and supporters to get a meeting with PT Inco. PT Inco refuses to meet with the community. The Karonsi'e Dongi indigenous community want a meeting with PT Inco to discuss and resolve a three decade-old land dispute as well as compensation for the recent acquisition of land used for community gardens. Former PT Inco employees are also participating in the actions with the communities and demanding that the company fulfill labour obligations and provide severance pay.

"Our community has become more impoverished with the PT Inco development. We struggle daily to survive. We want the land taken over for PT Inco golf course to be returned to us and if this is not possible, we want land returned to us to establish a settlement for our community," testified Pak Yadin, head of the Karonsi'e Dongi community alliance, during a public debate on mining today in Jakarta.

The Karonsi'e Dongi community fled the Sorowako area in the 1950s during a time of rebellion. They began returning in the 1960s when it was deemed safe only to find that their settlement and gardens had been taken over for a large-scale nickel mine development including a company exclusive golf course. The Karonsi'e Dongi people, restricted access to their former land, were not compensated for lost land and livelihoods. Only in the year 2000, over 25 years after Inco began operations in the area, were other indigenous people of the area granted similar access as the Inco company staff to recreational facilities like the golf course, the restaurant, unpolluted areas of the lake shore, schools and a treated drinking water supply. Today, the Karonsi'e Dongi people face a daily struggle to survive and question their survival as a community.

Inco Ltd., the global mining giant from Canada and the world's second largest nickel mining company, has a long track record of environmental and social problems at its operations in Canada and around the world. "Inco is known to be one of Canada's largest single source polluters of air and soil, threatening the health of communities in Sudbury, Flin Flon and Port Colborne" says Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada, "and Inco is now increasingly exporting its bad environmental track record and controversy-ridden community and labour relations to places like Guatemala, Indonesia and Kanaky-New Caledonia."

"Inco Innovation Centre" Official Opening Coincides with Global Protests Against Inco

As the top brass of Inco and Memorial University of Newfoundland celebrated the grand opening of the "Inco Innovation Centre" at Memorial University last week, protests against the company by indigenous people are becoming a common occurrence in Indonesia, New Caledonia and Guatemala.

Memorial University students active with the Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility (CESR) rained on the Inco and Memorial University parade when they questioned and commented on Inco's track record of human rights abuses around the world and its implications to the university during the official opening of the Centre that featured a panel discussion on "innovation." "No innovation will be found here unless Inco takes responsibility for the communities, lives and livelihoods it has affected in places such as Guatemala, Indonesia and Kanaky-New Caledonia. Inco's record with indigenous people is offensive," stated Chad Griffiths from CESR at the panel discussion held last week.

"It is shameful that Inco refuses to settle compensation disputes with the indigenous people of Sulawesi, Indonesia while the company spends millions of dollars to establish a "Inco Innovation Centre" at Memorial University in Canada," stated Adi Widyanto of the Indonesian Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM).

Media Contacts: In Indonesia, contact the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM): Adi Widyanto,
email:, tel: +62 (21) 794-1559, cell: 0815-11655911

In Canada, contact Catherine Coumans at Mining Watch Canada at or tel: 1 (613) 569-3439

Protestas y piquetes contra INCO en Indonesia

Comunicado de Prensa - Red de Defensa contra la Minería (JATAM), MiningWatch Canada, Sociedad por la Responsabilidad Social y Ambiental Corporativa (CESR)

Indonesia, Miércoles 28 de septiembre de 2005

En el día de hoy, 28 de septiembre de 2005, unas 500 personas bloquean el camino de acceso a la explotación minera de PT INCO en Sorowako, Indonesia, mientras enfrentan intimidaciones por hombres contratados por la empresa para detener su acción y crear conflictos en la comunidad. Varias personas detenidas por la policía hoy temprano ya fueron liberadas.

Los piquetes son la continuación de manifestaciones de protesta, y una sentada y huelga de hambre que se extendió por una semana frente a las oficinas regionales de PT INCO en Makassar. El objetivo de la sentada era reunirse con las autoridades de PT INCO, pero estas rechazaron encontrarse con la comunidad. La comunidad indígena Karonsi'e Dongi quiere reunirse con INCO para discutir y resolver una disputa por tierras que ya lleva más de 30 años. Ex empleados de INCO se sumaron a estas acciones y reclaman que la empresa cumpla con sus obligaciones patronales.

"Nuestra comunidad se ha empobrecido por la presencia de PT Inco. Luchamos día a día para sobrevivir. Queremos que nos sea devuelta la tierra que ha sido ocupada por el campo de golf de PT Inco, y si esto no fuera posible, que se nos entregue otra tierra donde establecernos" declaró Pak Yadin, líder de la comunidad Karonsi'e Dongi, durante un debate público sobre la actividad minera realizado hoy en Jakarta.

La comunidad de Karonsi'e Dongi huyó del área de Sorowako en los años 50´, durante una rebelión. Comenzaron a regresar en los años 60´, pero encontraron su territorio ocupado por una explotación de níquel a gran escala y un campo de golf exclusivo de la compañía operadora del proyecto. Los Karonsi'e Dongi no fueron compensados por la pérdida de sus tierras y su modo de vida ancestral. Sólo en el año 2000, 25 años después que Inco comenzara a operar en la zona, se permitió a la población indígena el mismo acceso que disponen los trabajadores de Inco a instalaciones recreativas, restaurantes, áreas sin contaminar de la costa del lago, escuales y provisión de agua potable. En la actualidad, los Karonsi'e Dongi luchan día a día por sobrevivir y dudan de la supervivencia de su comunidad.

Inco Ltd., el gigante minero de Canadá y segundo productor mundial de níquel, tiene una larga serie de nefastos antecedentes ambientales y sociales por sus operaciones en Canadá y en todo el mundo. "Inco es conocida por ser la mayor fuente de contaminación de aire y suelo en Canadá, amenazando la salud de comunidades en Sudbury, Flin Flon y Port Colborne" dice Catherine Coumans de la organización MiningWatch Canada, y agrega que "la compañía ahora exporta sus antecedentes ambientales y su controversial modo de relacionarse con las comunidades, hacia lugares como Guatemala, Indonesia o Nueva Caledonia".


En Indonesia, contactar a Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM): Adi Widyanto,

email:, tel: +62 (21) 794-1559, cell: 0815-11655911

En Canada, contactar a Catherine Coumans de Mining Watch Canada: or tel: 1 (613) 569-3439

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