MAC: Mines and Communities

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to Yayasan Tanah Merdeka, Palu, Central Sulawesi - and residents of B

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

Acknowledgement: I am grateful to Yayasan Tanah Merdeka, Palu, Central Sulawesi - and residents of Bahomotefe - for background research quoted in the first part of this article.


1) In 1994, when Bahomotefe re-entered PT Inco's calculations as an expansion area, the company said it was not sure whether ore from the area would be trucked to Soroako, or form the basis of an independent operation - possibly a ferro-chrome plant. This would depend on "the grade and type of ore" [Metal Bulletin, London, December 5 1994]. Even if this were a serious option at the time, it can hardly be now: the costs of building and powering a ferro-chrome plant would far exceed those of building an all-weather road across the hills to the existing smelter and, of course, expansion in the past two years has concentrated almost wholly on Soroako and Larona.

(2) Background material from Yayasan Tanah Merdeka, Palu

(3) According to other sources, PT Inco was asked by the government to pay all the relocation costs, which were estimated to be Rp 10 billion - a figure mid-way between these two [Kompas November 2 1995 and Surya August 5 1996]

(4) ANTARA News Agency, Indonesia, November 6, 1998

(5) George Aditjondro "Can Soroako and Tembagapura become regional centres for development?" in Prisma, Jakarta, August 1992.

(6) ibid

(7) ibid

(8) In April 1999, PT Inco announced that it had sought (and gained) approval from its partners in Indonesia, to borrow US$200 million from its parent in Canada, in order to finish off the Soroako expansion [Mining Journal, London April 23 1999]. While not exactly a case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul", it suggests there has been a severe cost overrun in Sulawesi. Nor can it have re-assured Inco shareholders and Canadian workers, some of whom have criticised the company's reckless "adventures" in Indonesia for some time.

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