MAC: Mines and Communities

Freeport protesters call for Grasberg closure, and Papua self-determination

Published by MAC on 2018-04-01
Source: Indoleft

Huge environmental damages created by mine

With Rio Tinto's annual general meeting (AGM)  just over a week ahead,  Freeport's massive operations in Papua (West Papua) have come into sharp focus in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

As reflected on many occasions by postings on MAC, the British-Australian company has stood four-square behind its senior US partner, ever since financially bailing it out from 1996 onwards (For background, see: Papuans confront Freeport).

Last Thursday (29 March 2018), protesters demanded, not just the closure of the Grasberg copper-gold mine, but also a guarantee of self-dermination for the territory's indigenous inhabitants - something implicitly denied when the American corporation was allowed to"colonise" Papua in 1967.

In an earlier, separate report, the Jakarta Post reported that data compiled by Indonesia's supreme  audity agency (BPK) showed Freeport/Rio Tinto had caused just under US$13 billion worth of environmental damages to Papuan forests, rivers and estuaries.



Demo at Freeport offices in Jakarta calls for West Papua self-determination

Tony Firman

29 March 2018 (in bahasa Indonesia)

Calls for West Papuan self-determination were prominent during a
demonstration in front of the offices of PT Freeport Indonesia in the
Kuningan area of South Jakarta on Thursday March 29.

The action was held by around 70 or so protesters from the Papuan Student
Alliance (AMP) and the Indonesian People's Front for West Papua (FRI-WP)
who held the demonstration to demand the closure of the Freeport copper
and gold mine in Papua.

FRI-WP spokesperson Surya Anta said that the international community must
take a position on the forced incorporation of West Papua into the Unitary
State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

"Since May 1, 1963 until now, West Papua's was removed from Holland's
decolonisation list without the West Papuan people knowledge", said Surya.

Surya also accused Freeport of being an entry point for the colonisation
of West Papua on the grounds that the first work contract between Freeport
and Indonesia was signed in 1967.

Meanwhile the Act of Free Choice (Pepera) which resulted in the
incorporation of West Papua into the NKRI was held in 1969. Surya said
that the Pepera was manipulated and undemocratic.

Dorlince Iyowau, a resident of Timika who took part in the action, added
that Freeport's presence in Papua has not brought prosperity or peace to
the West Papuan people.

"Violence against the people and damage to the environment by waste
tailings discarded into the Ajkwa River is a concrete form of Freeport's
colonial presence", said Dorlince.

In a press release received by Tirto, the FRI-WP and the AMP made nine
demands, three of which were the closure of PT Freeport, the withdrawal of
the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (National Police) from Papua and
self-determination for the people of Papua.

The release also stated that based on a report by the Papuan Institute for
Human Rights Studies and Advocacy (Elsham) in 2002, numerous cases of
violence have been committed by security forces in Papua.

The report notes that thousands of people have died, scores have
disappeared and hundreds more have been arrested and tortured. In addition
to this, it also notes places of worship that have been burnt down,
villages and other locations that have been destroyed, many of which have
yet to be properly documented.

The demonstrators began leaving the Freeport offices at around 3.15 pm.
Similar actions are planned to take place simultaneously on April 7 in
several different cities including Yogyakarta and Semarang (Central Java),
Bandung (West Java), Surabaya and Malang (East Java), Makassar (South
Sulawesi), Palu (Central Sulawesi), Ternate (North Maluku) and Papua

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original
title of the article was "Demo di Kantor Freeport Juga Serukan Penentuan
Nasib West Papua".]

Freeport has cost $13 billion losses in environmental damage, says BPK

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

20 March 2018

The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has said that ecological damage resulting from PT Freeport Indonesia's (PTFI) mining operations in Papua had caused Rp 185 trillion (US$12.95 billion) in state losses.

“Based on the calculations of experts at IPB [the Bogor Institute of Agriculture], the environmental damage caused by Freeport’s mining waste reached Rp 185 trillion,” BPK commissioner Rizal Djalil said in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by

He added that the mining company dumped its waste into forests, rivers and estuaries.

Rizal said the BPK had received data on the scale of the damage from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan). He added that Freeport Indonesia also utilized 4,536 hectares of protected forest for their operations in direct violation of Law No. 19/2004 on Forestry.

“It has been 333 days since we issued the report, but it has not been followed up,” said Rizal, adding that the BPK had recommended sanctions for the company to the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.

Meanwhile, Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said the company had followed up on two BPK reports on violating the license on the use of protected forests and its environmental impact.

Riza said the ministry had imposed administrative sanctions on Freeport in October 2017 for violating the terms of the environment permit.

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