MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesia update

Published by MAC on 2007-08-13

Indonesia update

13th August 2007

It's not often that we hear about opposition to marble mining, yet this is one of the most hazardous occupational sectors in the industry - especially in India, the world's biggest single source of the highly-valued building stone.

Recently a group of Indigenous people (particularly women) took direct action against Indonesian marble companies operating in South Central Timor , where they were met with violence from thugs apparently be tacitly supported by the local government.

Following widespread demands last year from West Papuan peoples and national NGOs, that Freeport-Rio Tinto's Grasberg copper-gold project be closed, the government initiated an inquiry into its operations. While failing to endorse a closure, the Indonesian administration has called for output from the mine to be reduced by up to a third, and for royalties to be increased. However, the government does not envisage confronting the company head-on, for fear of "sending a bad signal" to other investors; rather it plans to negotiate a friendly agreement.

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