MAC: Mines and Communities

Inco protests held around the world

Published by MAC on 2005-09-16

Inco protests held around the world

16th September 2005

Summary via JATAM

On the eve of the grand opening of the 'Inco Innovation Centre' at Memorial University (go to to see the headline news), communities at Inco sites around the world are struggling for rights.

- Public rally against Skye (owned in part by Inco) in Guatemala held earlier this week where 1000 some Q'uechi Mayans united to reject a return to mining in El Estor.

- A communique from the South pacific island country of New Caledonia states that an action was held on Sept 12 called "Mine Morte" in memory of the destroyed mountain summits, the ravaged forests, valleys and lakes, the polluted lagoon, the relocated and devastated peoples and the miners who have died.

- Here is a quick translation of a message below (in Bahasa) just in from Makassar, Indonesia

Friends, Greetings of solidarity, Makassar, 15 September 2005

Approx. 300 university students and 8 people from Sorowako relocated for PT Inco's mine held a demonstration in front of the provincial parliament office. They demanded that PT Inco resolve the issue of relocation and severance of 250 employees that did not follow procedures or the Labour Act. On September 12, a similar action occurred. At that time the local parliament promised to meet with the affected community and the President Director of PT Inco on September 15. However, September 15 came and this promise was not fulfilled so a mass descended upon the PT Inco regional office in Sulawesi. After speeches that lasted about 20 minutes, university students, NGO reps, and affected community members tried to negotiate a meeting with the PT Inco President Director from Jakarta. After lobbying and negotiating with the Sulawesi PT Inco deputy director Idham, a meeting with the President Director still was not confirmed so the mass decided to hold a sit-in action at the office until the PT Inco President Director made himself available. Tonight, over 100 remain at the PT Inco office.

Quick summary of the many news stories below about the Inco sit in/hunger strike (19 September):

The sit in by Inco affected community members and university students at the PT Inco regional office in Makasssar has entered day 4. The people are determined not to leave untul they meet with PT Inco main director Bing R Tobing.

According to PT Inco external relations Edi Suhardi, the problem that involves the Dongi, Patea and Sorowako people is in the process of being resolved but it is very difficult to arrange a meeting with their director.

Several people are on a hunger strike but some have ended it (university students needing to go back to school). They wrapped their mouths with a piece of material that read hunger strike action. Medical checks found that some were in ill health and were advised to stop the hunger strike. Some began drinking water and showed signs of improved health but continued to fast.

Other media reports stated that dozens of people are eating, sleeping, showering and praying at the PT Inco regional office. The mass are occupying the visitor's room, the meeting room and the yard of the office while PT Inco continues some of its operations as usual. A 14 year old boy said we would not leave the office until his community's demands were fulfilled.

This action follows several demonstrations at the local government offices.

The community are demanding pensions for the workers who have been given severance and compensation for the land now in control of PT Inco in Sorowako.

Another action at the local government office by the local legal aid group, unions and others demanded that PT Inco stop mining activities that are destroying the environment.

The Indonesian parliament is forming an investigation team to look at a resolution to the land compensation and worker issues.

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