MAC: Mines and Communities

Freeport Subdued By Government Pressure

Published by MAC on 2006-03-29
Source: Tempo Interactive

Freeport subdued by government pressure

Thonthowi, Retno, and Ramidi, Jakarta

Source: Tempo Interactive

29th March 2006

PT Freeport Indonesia promises it will fulfill the government's recommendation to repair environmental management in its mining area. This attitude is related to the government's view that the pollution level due to the US company's operation is the same as other blacklisted companies, the worst category for a company's environment management. "We admit that. The government also suggested a way that it might improve," said PT Freeport Indonesia spokesperson, Mindo Pangaribuan, in a message received by Tempo last night.

The Deputy of Environment Pollution Control, Gempur Adnan confirmed that promise. "They will officially issue a statement," he said. The official statement will declare Freeport's willingness to improve within a maximum period of three years.

The audit team from the Environment Ministry which was sent to Timika in February found that one of Freeport's violations is the acid management in the mine's west side of Grassberg, which has not yet fulfilled the basic water quality in the gold mine. Moreover, Freeport has not obtained a waste disposer permit.

The State Minister for the Environment, Rachmat Witoelar, promised to ask Freeport to process the audit team's recommendation. "I will keep an eye on them (Freeport)," he said

Several state officials yesterday inspected the Freeport mine in Tembagapura, Papua. Among them were Minister Rachmat, Home Affairs Minister M. Ma'ruf, Indonesian Military Commander Marshall Djoko Suyanto, Indonesian Police Chief General Sutanto, and Minister of Energy & Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro. The group was led by the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs Widodo A.S.

After holding a closed meeting with Freeport leaders and local officials, Widodo explained, his visit is aimed at monitoring the entire situation . "This is the government's concern for economic, social, and political upheaval," he said.

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