MAC/20: Mines and Communities

The Lorentz National Park In West Papua Under New Threat

Published by MAC on 2005-10-22


The Lorentz National Park in West Papua under new threat

By John McBeth

22th October 2005

[Note: Although we believe this report is imporant, it contains two inaccuracies First, six (not thirteen) mining companies at the exploration stage in Indonesian protected forests are currently stopped from further exploring by the July Constitional Court decisionl

Second, Freeport-Rio Tinto did have a contract of work in the Lorentz national park - and indeed had physically encroached upon it - before it was designated a World Heritage site

As for the contention, quoted from Kalman Muller (who describes himself as a "cultural consultant") that the Amungme would put up little resistance to mining in the Park, perhaps his comment ("You cant eat conservation") says more about his own attitudes than that of many Amungme

The HK Standard's report also makes a passing (but comparative) reference to Rio Tinto's Jabiluka prospect, suggesting that the Mirrar traditional owners may reverse their opposition to the mine when Ranger is exhausted around 2010-2011 (though this in itself is speculative, given the recent boost in uranium prices). In fact the agreement signed in 2004 with the company quite clearly puts Rio Tinto in the position of going to the community to seek permission to open up the deposit, something it can do officially only every four years. The Mirrar have stated unequivocally on many occasions over the past five years that they will never allow a uranium mine to be opened at Jabiluka.]

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