MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Freeport not licensed to dispose of tailings

Published by MAC on 2006-01-06


Freeport not licensed to dispose of tailings

by TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta

6th January 2006

PT Freeport Indonesia does not yet have a license to dispose of tailing waste from gold and copper mining remains in the Aghwagon Otonoma-Aikma Minajerni river basin, Papua.

"There has not yet been any license issued by the State Ministry for the Environment for this," Rasio Ridho Sani, Assistant to the State Minister for Poisonous and Dangerous Materials (B3) Waste and Management Affairs, told Tempo on Wednesday (04/01).

The license obtained from the Papuan governor, stated Rasio, was inadequate.

Now, the State Ministry for the Environment is discussing the matter of the license with Freeport.

A team will be sent to monitor the disposed tailing. Warnings have been issued between 1997 and 2001 by the Minister for the Environment and the Environmental Impact Management Board (Bapedal) as regards the disposal of tailing waste by Freeport.

On February 25, 1997, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, the then Minister for the Environment and Head of Bapeda, sent a letter to Freeport requesting supporting evidence that the disposed tailing was not included in B3 waste.

In this letter, the tailing was categorized as liquid waste and therefore has to have a special license.

The letter also mentioned that the tailing has causes physical destruction of the Ajkwa River.

On June 12, 2001, Bapedal also warned Freeport for having violated article 27 of Government Regulation No.35/1991 on Rivers, which bans the disposal of solid or liquid waste into or nearby rivers.

Up to now, Freeport is yet to provide further confirmation regarding it license to dispose of tailing. (Oktamandjaya Wiguna-Tempo News Room)

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