MAC/20: Mines and Communities

This linked article reports on Indonesian Government plans to maintain the militarization of foreign

Published by MAC on 2004-03-01

This linked article reports on Indonesian Government plans to maintain the militarization of foreign owned mining and oil projects in Indonesia. It also acknowledges the role of foreign companies in generating problems and hostility.

Government Asked the Military to Continue Maintaining Security as the "Third Ring"

MiningIndo.com

March 1, 2004

The government had asked the military to continue maintaining security as the "third ring" around vital assets over the next year or two, as the police carry out internal consolidations that will eventually allow them to take over the task of security. It was stated by Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

"President Megawati Soekarnoputri has agreed to keep the military in the third ring during this transition period," he said as quoted from the Jakarta Post recently.

He said that if this three-layer security system was implemented, major mining companies such as Caltex, Beyond Petroleum and ConocoPhilips would be more willing to invest in the future exploration of new oil fields. "They have been reluctant to carry out exploration because of the security uncertainties."

The government would increase security at all vital projects and assets across the country, in a move hoped to also help attract new foreign investment in the oil and gas sector.

A presidential decree, further he said, on the application of a multilayered security system at these projects soon would be issued.

"This new measure is urgent to show the government's strong commitment to assuring foreign oil investors of their security in investing in the country, especially in conflict-torn regions, and to make Indonesia's oil industry more attractive and competitive," he said.

The government is struggling to attract new investment in the oil and gas sector as the country's existing oil fields dry up.

Purnomo said the security authorities, investors and the public should all work together in maintaining security.

He said the presidential decree would regulate that the security of all vital assets, including oil fields, refineries and mining companies' headquarters, would be provided by a first ring of internal security guards, a second layer of local residents and a third ring of military and police personnel.

Somewhat different from the existing security system, he said, mining companies would be required to carry out community development programs to empower residents.

"Many mining companies have developed trouble in their areas of operation because they forget to empower local communities or the funds they have disbursed through third parties for community development do not reach the local communities," he said. "We should learn from the security disturbances threatening foreign investment in Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau and Papua."

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