MAC: Mines and Communities

Icel, Jatam, And Walhi: Freeport Must Cease Operations Because Of Environmental Crimes

Published by MAC on 2006-03-24
Source: ICEL, JATAM, and WALHI ()

ICEL, JATAM, and WALHI

Press Release

24th March 2006

FREEPORT MUST CEASE OPERATIONS BECAUSE OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES

Freeport Indonesia's Productivity Assessment Report issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment on March 23rd, 2006, stated that Freeport had violated a number of environmental laws, such as not having a license to dump liquid acid produced by mining activities, and not meeting suspended solid in waste guidelines in its disposal into the Ajkwa estuary. The Ministry of Environment has only sent a warning letter asking the company to improve its environmental management system and this is not regarded as enough by several organizations including the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI). The following three statements were issued by the three organizations:

1. The deployment of the Proper Team to merely observe Freeport's productivity is highly improper as well as manipulative. The government should have sent a necessary audit team in accordance to enforce Law No. 23 / 1997, Article 28 on Environmental Management.

2. The Ministry of Environment's plan to only send a warning letter is but a trivial sanction to the responsible parties. Such a letter is normally sent to warn those guilty of minor environmental destructions/pollution at the early stages. Therefore, it is very strange that such a letter is sent to a large-scale mining operation such as Freeport's whose level of damage has been huge .

3. The environmental pollution/destruction in Freeport's mining location has occurred repeatedly over a long period. There is indication that the environmental monitoring systems are breaking down and the Ministry of Environment has a legal obligation to ensure this does not occur.

4. The Ministry of Environment only focuses on observing and adhering to physical environmental aspects (plant, tailing processing units, sea water quality, etc.) and not on social quality. A team from the Ministry of Environment has reduced its comprehension on the environment and has shoved aside social realities of those living around Freeport's mining area. Because of that, essential problems around the mining area will never be settled.

A landslide that occurred in the early morning of March 23, 2006, in an area 68 miles away from Grasberg mine site, Timika, Papua, killed three people and injured thirty others. This is proof of how unsafe mining operations continue to be. Based on the previous mentioned items, ICEL, JATAM, and WALHI urges:

1. The Government of Indonesia to immediately order Freeport Ltd. to stop its operations because the operation has violated a number of environmental Laws. The closure is needed to stop further environmental destruction, labour and social problems.

2. The Minister of Environment to announced legal infractions by Freeport by not supervising and preventing environmental destruction/pollution as determined in Articles 10 and 22 of Act No. 23/1997, hazardous waste management as stated in Article 3 of Governmental Regulation (PP) No. 18 /1999 on Toxic and Hazardous Materials, as well as not meeting its obligation in environmental monitoring and management reporting as required in the Environmental Impact Assessment Governmental Regulation No.27, Article 32.

3. The Minister of Environment to immediately bring Freeport Ltd. to court and resolve several problems by implementing principles of full and consistent access to information, participation, and justice in an effort to realize environmental justice.

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Note: Productivity Assessment Report of Freeport Indonesia Ltd. issued by the Ministry of Environment on March 23rd, 2006 at: www.menlh.go.id.

Media contacts:
Indro Sugianto, Executive Director, Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), cell: 08159434228
Maharani Siti Shopia, Press Manager, ICEL, cell: 08123108853
Siti Maemunah, National Coordinator, Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), cell: 0811920462
Torry Kuswardono, Mining and Energy Campaign Manager, Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), cell: 0811383270.

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