MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Indonesian Update

Published by MAC on 2006-03-20


Indonesia Update

20th March 2006

Demands by West Papuan for the closure of the Freeport-Rio Tinto Grasberg mine last week reached an unprecedented level, with the Indonesian authorities clamping down hard on protestors. Three policemen and a soldier have already been killed.

Newmont's exploration on Sumbawa has also triggered violent community opposition. And a new report sugests that, at the present rate of exploitation (including by mining companies), all the country's forests will have disappeared by the year 2221.


"Stop using the 'security approach' in the Freeport case!"

Press Release, Indonesian Mining Advocacy Network - Jatam

17th March 2006

Original in Bahasa Indonesia. Translation by DTE

The protests calling for PT Freeport Indonesia to be shut down which have been snowballing since February 2006 have claimed more victims. What started as a peaceful demonstration by students and other Papuans, with roadblocks on the road between Abepura and Sentani in front of Cendrawasih University on March 16th, has ended in violence and the loss of life. The authorities prefer to use the 'security approach' and violence to face the students' demands about this mining company. The people are always confronted by the security forces rather than seeking ways to settle the problems with the company.

The protests by the Papuans and in other places are to press the government to close down PT Freeport. The Abepura protest was preceded by a series of demonstrations in other towns in Papua (Timika, Jayapura) and elsewhere (Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Makasar, Solo.) They are demanding the closure of PT Freeport because it has been shown to be the cause of human rights violations and environmental damage and does not benefit the Papuan people. This most recent protest, blockading the road outside the university, has resulted in a number of victims. Four members of the security forces have died, dozens have been wounded and there have been 57 arrests. The police are now combing the area around the university for suspects.

The 'security approach' is always used by the government to stamp out protests against mining companies: the occupation of PT IMK's mine site in Central Kalimantan in 1999; the shooting of farmers and fisherfolk blockading PT Unocal in 2001; the peaceful protest by farmers and fisherfolk occupying the Newcrest mine site in Maluku Utara in 2004 and many other cases. The government chooses confrontation with its people in using the 'security approach' as its first option instead of considering more sophisticated options and having the courage to meet the communities' demands.

The Freeport case has, once again, shown how our country's leaders side with foreign investors. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono demonstrated this on the evening of 16th March 2006, by ordering the minister for security and the heads of the armed forces, police and intelligence services to restore peace and refusing to close PT Freeport. The government would rather confront its people and is afraid of calls for international arbitration.

JATAM is disappointed with the government's stance. The Freeport case cannot simply be settled by using the 'security approach' or by increasing the Community Development Fund, as has been done in the past. It is time the government woke up to the people's demands to close down PT Freeport. It should immediately start consulting with the Papuan people about the steps to be taken in future. If not, the government will only prolong the social conflict, environmental destruction and state losses.

JATAM urges all parties to show restraint and avoid violence. We express our condolences over the deaths that occurred outside Cendrawasih University. We also urge the government to ensure that there will be no repressive action by the security forces over demonstrations demanding the closure of PT Freeport Indonesia in future.

Media Contact : Adi Widyanto Telp. +62 21 794 1559 Mobile phone: 0815 11655 911


More detentions in West Papua

by JAKARTA (Reuters)

18th March 2006

Indonesian authorities have detained another 11 people in Papua province after three policemen and a soldier died in clashes with protesters demanding closure of a giant U.S.-run mine, police said on Saturday.

Fifty-seven people had already been detained after Thursday's violence in the provincial capital, Jayapura, on the northeastern shore of Papua, about 3,500 km from Jakarta.

The clashes sparked fears of more protests against U.S. firm Freeport-McMoran Cooper & Gold Inc, which runs the mine.

Tensions have been running high in the area in recent days and, on Friday, police fired shots into the air as they patrolled the city. Three people were hurt in the incident.

Last month mine operations were halted for four days before protesters, mostly illegal miners, left the site near the town of Timika, about 500 km southwest of Jayapura.

The mine has been operating normally this week.

"The number of people detained has increased from 57 to 68," Papua police spokesman Kartono Wangsadisastra said on Saturday.

"Our team is still searching for those responsible for the criminal activities ... We have found the perpetrators' identities and formed an investigating team to hunt for them."

He said 10 people had been declared suspects, but gave no details.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has rejected demands for the immediate closure of the mining operation, the country's largest taxpayer, but said he would assign ministers to examine social grievances related to the mine.

There have been sporadic protests, both in Papua and Jakarta, since the February shutdown. Issues range from illegal miners seeking access to the mine area to the demands for closure of the mine, believed to have the world's third-largest copper reserves and one of the biggest gold deposits.

Illegal miners often enter mining areas in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with huge deposits of such metals as copper, gold and tin.

The Freeport operation has been a frequent source of controversy over its environmental impact, the share of revenue going to Papuans, and the legality of payments to Indonesian security forces who help guard the site.


Four killed in anti-Freeport protests in Indonesia

by Achmad Sukarsono, Reuters, JAKARTA

16th March 2006

Three policemen and a soldier in Indonesia's remote Papua province died on Thursday in clashes with protesters demanding the closure of a giant mine run by U.S. firm Freeport-McMoran Cooper & Gold Inc, police said.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was sending officials to the scene and his ministers would investigate issues raised in controversy over the mine.

Papuan police said students from the province's main university in the capital of Jayapura, about 500 km (311 miles) northeast of the mine, pelted policemen with stones to stop them from opening a roadblock to the city's airport.

"Three policemen have died along with a soldier from the airbase. Forty people are now being interrogated," Papua police chief Tommy Jacobus told Indonesia's Metro TV. Papua police spokesman Kartono Wangsadisastra earlier said police tried to break up the protest by firing teargas and rubber bullets.

In Jakarta, deputy national police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam said around 19 other police officers had to be rushed to the hospital due to injuries and branded the protesters as "brutal".

"The dead victims were not only pelted. They were also stabbed. The mob were anarchists but we have control over their territory now," he said, adding officers found machetes and molotov cocktails inside the Cenderawasih University campus.

He declined to say how many civilians were hurt. Local media reports indicated some protesters may also have been killed.

Local television footage showed chaotic scenes of give-and-take between charging protesters and police, many of the latter carrying staves and plastic shields.

At one point gun-wielding anti-riot police broke into the university's compound to chase the rally leaders, while protesters showered the police with rocks.

Other footage appeared to show protesters kicking and beating people on the ground, while in other clips men in who appear to be plainclothes police are firing pistols aimed toward the protesters.

Jayapura, on the northeastern shore of Papua, is located 3,500 km (2,200 miles) from Jakarta at Indonesia's extreme eastern border.

President Yudhoyono told reporters he would send officials to Papua to check on the situation.

"I have received information from (telephone) text messages that have been twisting the condition. Let's give our security officers space to do their job," he said.

Yudhoyono said he would assign ministers to take a look at social grievances related to the mine, and act on their findings.

But he also said: "Of course, if we follow the opinions of some people who want Freeport closed now that would create legal problems. It will be difficult to explain why there is a strong reason to suddenly close it. Our national business climate will be disrupted."

The mine is Indonesia's single biggest taxpayer.

On Wednesday, one person was shot by an arrow hours after anti-Freeport protesters tried to storm a five-star hotel in Timika, the nearest town to Freeport's Grasberg mine.

There have been sporadic protests against the mine in recent weeks, both in Papua and Jakarta. A road blockade by mostly illegal miners shut down operations for four days last month.

Illegal miners often enter mining areas in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that is the world's fourth most populous country with huge deposits of such metals as copper, gold and tin.

None of this week's protests have affected mining activities.

Protest issues vary from illegal miners asking access to the mine area to demands like the Jayapura demonstrators for closure of the lucrative mine, believed to have the world's third-largest copper reserves and one of the biggest gold deposits.

The Freeport operation has been a frequent source of controversy over its impact on the environment, the share of revenue going to Papuans and the legality of payments to Indonesian security forces who help guard the site. (With additional reporting by Telly Nathalia)


Indonesia: Investigate Escalating Violence in Papua

Allow Independent Monitors Access to Area

Press statement from Human Rights Watch, London

17th March 2006

Escalating violence in Papua's provincial capital should be investigated by an independent commission, Human Rights Watch said today.

Demonstrators and police clashed in the provincial capital Jayapura this week, causing the deaths of four Indonesian policemen and seriously injuring several civilians. Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation by Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) into the incident, and for other domestic and foreign independent monitors to be allowed access to the area.

Some 150 demonstrators, including students from the University of Cenderawasih, have spent the last two days demanding the withdrawal of the Indonesian army (TNI) and police from Papua, and the closure of the U.S.-owned Freeport mine in Timika, Papua. In response to the demonstrators' attempts to block the road in front of the university, Indonesian riot police yesterday moved in to break up the demonstration, resulting in the violent clashes.

"These are deeply disturbing accounts of violence," said Brad Adams, Asia director for Human Rights Watch. "The Indonesian government should immediately grant access to an independent investigation by Komnas HAM and Indonesian NGOs to determine how the violence escalated."

Human Rights Watch said that the report of the investigation must also be made public.

Reports indicate that BRIMOB (Brigade Mobile, Indonesian riot police) officers used tear gas, and some eyewitnesses say that they saw the police open fire on the crowd of unarmed demonstrators. In response the crowd attacked the riot units and beat to death four policemen, injuring at least 19 other officers.

Media reports indicate that two civilians may also have been killed in the clashes. Local human rights groups report that at least six demonstrators were seriously injured, one of whom is in critical condition. Some of those injured are receiving treatment for gunshot wounds, and all are currently in Abepura hospital. One of those wounded is a journalist from the Indonesian newspaper Tempo. Unverified reports indicate he was beaten by police officers while trying to film the demonstration.

In addition to an independent investigation, Human Rights Watch also called for the removal of arbitrary restrictions on access to all regions of Papua by journalists, human rights workers, and other independent monitors. In response to government announcements that no foreign media would be allowed to Papua, Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in February, warning that the lack of access and monitoring to Papua by independent observers, including the media, would create a climate in which the armed forces and police believe they can act with impunity and commit abuses, unreported and away from the public eye.

"This is an opportunity - albeit a grim one - for the government to open up access to the province and allow independent monitors, media and human rights organizations in," said Adams.

Human Rights Watch has received reports that at least 20 demonstrators have been arrested by the police and are currently being held at the police station in Jayapura. Local human rights organizations have been denied access to them. Unverified sources report that two of the Cenderawasih University student dormitories have also been shot at with automatic weapons, with gunshots being heard in Jayapura hours after the demonstration had ended.

"While all efforts must be made to bring perpetrators of killings to justice, arbitrary, retaliatory attacks on the general Papuan population are never justified," said Adams. "Worse, attacks on the public will only undermine potential cooperation from witnesses and other victims."

In another region of Papua, reports have emerged of the destruction of part of the Sheraton hotel in Timika, adjacent to the Freeport copper mine. Anti-Freeport demonstrators attacked the hotel after being unable to address local officials meeting with Freeport representatives. At least 15 people are reported to have been arrested in relation to the attack.

Background:

An ongoing, low-level armed insurgency in Papua, in the easternmost part of Indonesia, has resulted in crackdowns by Indonesian security forces with ensuing human rights violations. Since 2005, there has been a visible build-up of troops in the province with reports of widespread displacement of civilians, arson, and arbitrary detention in the central highlands region.

Demonstrations against Freeport have increased in recent months after Freeport security forces tried to evict local miners, alleging their activity was illegal. Protestors accuse Freeport of not providing enough to the people of Papua in return for the mine, polluting the local environment, and for being responsible for human rights abuses through their use of the military for security services.

For more information, please contact:
In London, Brad Adams: +44-20-7713-2767; or +44-79-0872-8333 (mobile)
In New York, Sophie Richardson: +1-212-216-1257


Eyewitness: 'They feel oppressed'

by BBC News

17th March 2006

[Church] minister Benny Giay helped three wounded protesters to hospital Protests demanding the closure of a huge gold mine in Indonesia's Papua province have ended in violence with at least three policemen killed.

The BBC News website spoke to church minister Benny Giay, who went into the midst of the protest to negotiate with protesters.

"It all began yesterday when students blocked the road. There were about 1,000 students out on the streets.

"But today at around 9am local time I was told that the police had arrived and were about to force the students to open the road. I knew it could get ugly.

" The students resisted and two hours later there were reports of shootings.The students said they had been driven to this. They feel oppressed and colonised."

Background to Papua unrest

"Students were swarming everywhere. They burned tyres on the road. They felled coconut trees and blocked the road with the trunks.

"They were angry and they were loud. They want to see the Freeport mine operations stopped.

"They collected stones and were throwing them at the police and the mobile brigades. They shouted out:

"'Indonesia you are lying. You are robbers. You have been here for years and you have been stealing from us. Go home!'"

"The students said they had been driven to this. They feel oppressed and colonised. They say that although the Indonesian government has been trying to hide its colonial face for years, Papuans have come to realise that this is not the kind of life they want.

Church mission

"When the shooting started and the violence escalated everybody realised the situation had got out of hand. The police chief of Papua went to the Bishop of Jayapura and asked him what the Catholic Church could to do deal with the students."

Injured policemen at the Papua riots

"At least three policemen were killed in the violence on Thursday.

"I went with a group of Church leaders to the site of the violence. The students opened the road for us as we were from the Church.

"When we got to the Catholic theological college, we started to meet the casualties. One student had been shot in his left arm. The first hospital he visited couldn't treat him and the second hospital he went to was being guarded by the military, so he was hesitant to go in.

"He returned to campus and that's where I met him. We took him and two other victims who had been shot with real bullets - not just rubber bullets - to hospital.

"The bishop and the Church wrote a 'pastoral letter' to be broadcast on local television and radio calling on the police to stop searching houses and students in dormitories and also calling on students to keep quiet and to look for constructive modes of dialogue.

'A brutal history'

"But dangers to some students still exist. I'm trying to help two students to a hiding place away from Jayapura. They are scared, they don't know what reprisals could be enacted, this place has a brutal history.

"I want to see a Papua free from fear, terror and oppression. I think the Freeport mine has become a symbol of all this. It is seen to collaborate with all the systems of state and so it too is seen as an oppressive force.

"That is why it all exploded so violently.

"The way we see it, West Papuans are living inside a house called the Republic of Indonesia. We are given one room in this house and it is heavily guarded by the military and the police.

"Jakarta decides our menu, what to eat, what kind of clothes we wear. We have no freedom."


Elang Dodo Exploration: Proof of Newmont''s Destructive Power

Press release by Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), Indonesian Forum for Environment, and Life Management Institute

19th March 2006

Jakarta, Sumbawa. Hundreds of people in Ropang village, Ropang District, Sumbawa Regency, are putting a blockade in an exploration site owned by Newmont Nusa Tenggara Ltd. which is located in the area of Elang Dodo protected forest. People are demanding that Newmont stop its exploration and cancel its mining plan in Elang Dodo area. They do not want their productive areas to be destroyed and their livelihood to be endangered by mining activities.

Villagers in Ropang and its surrounding areas have several times put up blockades and taken Newmont s machines, vehicles, and even employees, as hostages. The villagers are upset as Newmont has never shown goodwill to sit together and negotiate on land conflicts and other problems that have emerged since exploration began. Newmont didn t even attend a hearing session facilitated by the Regional Parliament of Sumbawa Regency in early March of 2006.

Since Newmont started its exploration two years ago in the Elang Dodo protected forest area, villagers in Ropang and other surrounding areas lost access to sources of income from forest products such as honey, palm sugar, and spices. They were prohibited from entering their own ancestors forest by the company s security forces claiming it as Newmont s concession area.

Apart from that, since Newmont s exploration began, people have been complaining about the shrinking amount of their agricultural crops. Some plantations of rice, pumpkin, and cucumber are no longer productive. Therefore, people stated that they will not allow any mining activities in Dodo and Rinti areas because they are worried that the destruction will get worse just like in the case of the Batu Hijau mining area. Newmont s exploration area includes Dodo (5,100 ha) and Rinti (7,539 ha) protected forests.

Responding to the people s blockade, Yani Sagaroa, director of Life Management Institute (LOH) Sumbawa stated, LOH has been for long time rejecting the attempts of the government and Newmont Ltd. to open a mining site in Elang Dodo protected forest. The government should have firmly refused the unfair mining concession in Elang Dodo area. Newmont must immediately stop all activities in Elang Dodo, fully rehabilitate the impacts of its exploration, and return the products of its exploration, such as gold, silver, and copper, to the local people and the regional government of Sumbawa.

It is people s basic right to prevent their productive areas from being destroyed by mining. JATAM supports the efforts of Ropang villagers to resist Newmont s mining in Dodo Rinti protected forests. Security officials should guard the peaceful action and should not respond with any repressive and exaggerated actions against the people s protest, commented Siti Maimunah, national coordinator of the Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM).

If Newmont is finally able to operate its mining activities in Dodo Rinti, it s guaranteed that the area s destruction will be aggravated and expanded to Ropang and other surrounding villages. People of the Batu Hijau mining circle have previously felt Newmont s destructive power since it started operating in 2000, said Torry Kuswardono, mining and energy campaigner of Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI).


Newmont Mining's exploration camp burnt on Sumbawa Island

JAKARTA (Bloomberg)

19th March 2006

Newmont Mining Corp., the world's largest gold miner (see note *), said protesters burnt Sunday an exploration camp on Sumbawa island. No one was injured.

The company's US$2 billion Batu Hijau gold and copper mine, which is about 60 kilometers from the exploration camp was unaffected by the attack today, a spokeswoman said. Sumbawa is about 1,000 kilometers east of Jakarta.

"We had evacuated all the employees there and halted activities since yesterday, as we had heard information of a planned attack," Nunik Maulana, PT Newmont Pacific Nusantara's spokeswoman, said in an interview. "Until now it's not clear who were the attackers and what are their demands."

Protests and attacks against overseas miners have increased this year. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., which runs the world's biggest gold and the second-biggest copper mine in Papua province, suspended operations at the Grasberg mine for threedays on Feb. 22 after demonstrators blocked the road leading to the site. Demonstrations against Freeport have continued. Four security officials were killed on March 22 in Papua's capital by protesters.

Newmont last month agreed to pay Indonesia $30 million in an effort to resolve a dispute with the government, which alleges the company polluted the sea near its mine on Sulawesi island. The money, which will be paid over 10 years, will be used to setup an environmental monitoring and assessment program in the region.

The agreement ended a civil lawsuit in which the government had sought $117 million from Newmont. The accord does not resolve a criminal case being heard in the provincial capital of Manado.

In that trial, Newmont Indonesia's President Director Richard Ness faces as many as 10 years in prison if convicted on charges of pollution. Ness denies the charges.

Newmont's Batu Hijau mine, on Sumbawa Island, has 7,000 workers who excavate reserves estimated to last until 2033.

(* Note: The world's largest gold mining company is now Barrick Gold of Canada.)


Indonesian forest to disappear in 15 years

by Antara News

12th March 2006

Committee Chairman for National Green Archipelgo, Ary Sudarsono said Indonesian forests were expected to disappear in 15 years to come if the government did not make serious efforts to preserve them. "With a destruction level of 2.8 million hectares annually, the Indonesian forests will become extinct in the next 15 years," he said in a press statement made available to ANTARA News here on Sunday.

He said that during the 2000-2005 period, of the 120.3 million hectares of forests in Indonesia, 59.2 million hectares were damaged. "If the country’s forests are all damaged, natural disasters such as floods, landslides and drought will take place everywhere," he added.

Sudarsono said that damages to forests could cause the extinction of 27,000 plant species in Indonesia, which account for 10 percent of the world`s plant species, 1,539 bird species (17 percent of the world`s), 515 species of mammals (12 percent) and 270 amphibious species (16 percent). Therefore, Sudarsono said, his committee would launch an environmental preservation campaign in any sports, arts and cultural events.

On Friday, Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar launched an environmental recovery program for an area at Merapi Mountain which was severely damaged by volcanic material mining. The Merapi Conservation Program was held in mountainside Kemiren village in Srumbung subdistrict in Magelang district.

The Magelang district administration has distributed 20,000 fruit seedlings to villagers who are told to plant them on a total land of 50 hectares in six villages. Magelang district head Singgih Sanyoto said non-environmental friendly sand minings have seriously damaged reserved forests and farm lands in the mountainside.

Illegal logging has also been attributed to forest damage. Illegal logging activities, for example, are rampant in the protected forest of Peleng Island, Banggai Kepulauan (Bangkep) district, Central Sulawesi.

"Almost every week, we can see logs cut illegally from the protected forest are piling up along Salakan-Palam roads," a local resident said.

Indonesia loses Rp30 trillion (about US$2,8 billion) annually in revenues and taxes due to illegal logging activities. While, around 2.8 million hectares of the country`s forest areas disappear every year.


Violenta jornada en protestas indonesias contra minera de EE.UU

http://www.prensalatina.com.mx

Yakarta, 16 mar (PL) Una violenta jornada vivió hoy la provincia Indonesia de Papúa, donde al menos tres policías murieron y decenas de personas resultaron heridas en protestas contra la multinacional minera estadounidense Freeport-Mcmoran.

Esos incidentes estallaron cuando centenares de personas, estudiantes entre ellas, se negaron abrir las barreras instaladas frente a la Universidad de Cendrawasih, a cuatro mil kilómetros al este de esta capital.

Los manifestantes airados lanzaron piedras contra las fuerzas de seguridad que tardó varias horas en controlar la situación y empleó balas de goma, gases lacrimógenos y vehículos blindados para dispersar la multitud.

El portavoz de la policía de Papúa, Kartono, dijo que los agentes que perecieron fueron apedreados y golpeados con bastones. Otros 19 policías resultaron heridos.

Decenas de personas fueron arrestadas desde el martes último en esa provincia, situada en el extremo este de Indonesia, donde se llevan a cabo protestas contra la multinacional estadounidense desde febrero pasado.

Las demostraciones de rechazo contra la Freeport McMoRan Coppwe and Gold Inc, con base en Nueva Orleans, se han extendido a la principales ciudades indonesias.

La población se queja de que la explotación de la mina de oro provoca altos niveles de contaminación ambiental en Papua, donde los residentes sufren una serie de problemas, tales como la contaminación de las aguas y la destrucción de los bosques y caminos.

También acusan a los propietarios de no dejarles beneficios y no emplear recursos para aumentar la calidad de vida en esa región durante casi 50 años de operaciones.

De igual forma los pobladores alegan que la multinacional estadounidense viola los derechos humanos por pagarle a la policía y al Ejército para proteger seguridad de la mina.

Freeport se encarga en esa localidad de la exploración, extracción, concentración, comercialización del cobre, oro y plata, yacimientos considerados de los más grandes y rentables del mundo.


Exploración En Elang Dodo: Prueba Del Expansivo Y Destructivo Poder De Newmont

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA: JATAM -- WALHI – LOH

Mining Advocacy Network, Indonesian Forum for Environment y Life Management Institute

INDONESIA - MARZO 19, 2006

Jakarta, Sumbawa. Cientos de pobladores de la Villa de Ropang, en Sumbawa (Indonesia), realizan un piquete en un área de exploración minera propiedad de Newmont Nusa Tenggara Ltd., enclavada en la reserva forestal de Elang Dodo. Los manifestantes demandan que Newmont detenga los trabajos y cancele sus planes en la zona. Ellos no quieren que sus áreas productivas sean destruidas, ni ver amenazado su modo de vida tradicional.

Los pobladores de Ropang y zonas cercanas se han manifestado muchas veces contra Newmont: realizando piquetes o tomando su maquinaria, vehículos e incluso hasta empleados, como rehenes. Ellos están enojados porque Newmont nunca mostró buena voluntad para sentarse a negociar por los conflictos con la tierra y otros problemas que han aparecido luego del comienzo de los trabajos de exploración. La empresa minera ni siquiera asistió a una audiencia informativa propuesta por el Parlamento Regional de Sumbawa, a comienzos de marzo de 2006.

Desde que Newmont comenzó sus exploraciones en la reserva forestal de Elang Dodo, los pobladores de Ropang y otras zonas cercanas perdieron ingresos y acceso a recursos que obtenían del bosque, como miel o especias. Las fuerzas de seguridad de Newmont les impidieron el ingreso al bosque de sus ancestros, alegando que se trataba ahora de un área consecionada.

A parte de allí, desde que comenzaron las eploraciones, los pobladores están denunciando que sus cosechas se han visto reducidas. Algunas plantaciones de arroz, calabaza y pepino ya no son productivas. Por eso, han declarado que no permitirán actividad minera en las zonas de Dodo y Rinti, preocupados porque la situación empeore, como ya ha ocurrido en el area minera de Batu Hijau. Las conseciones de Newmont incluyen las reservas forestales de Dodo (5,100 ha) y Rinti (7,539 ha).

En respuesta a los piquetes contra Newmont, Yani Sagaroa, director de la organización Life Management Institute (LOH) de Sumbawa, solicitó que "Newmont detenga toda actividad minera en Elang Dodo, repare todos los impactos que ya ha causado, y devuelva los productos que ha extraido en sus exploraciones, como oro, plata y cobre, a la población local y al gobierno regional de Sumbawa".

"Es un derecho básico de la población el prevenir que sus áreas productivas sean destruidas por la minería. JATAM apoya a los pobladores de Ropang en su resistencia a las actividades de Newmont en las reservas forestales Dodo y Rinti. Las autoridades de seguridad deberán custodiar esa acción pacífica, sin responder a ella con represión o fuerza exagerada", comentó Siti Maimunah, coordinador nacional de la Red de Defensa Contra la Minería (JATAM).

"Si se permite que Newmont opere en Dodo y Rinti, se está garantizando que la destrucción se agrave y expanda a Ropang y otras villas cercanas. Los pobladores del área minera Batu Hijau ya han sentido en carne propia el poder destructivo de Newmont, desde que inició sus operaciones en la zona en el año 2000" declaró Torry Kuswardono, integrante de la campaña sobre minería y energía del Foro Indonesio del Medioambiente (WALHI).


Newmont suspende actividades en en la isla indonesia de Sumbawa tras incendio provocado

Europa Press

20-03-2006

La minera estadounidense Newmont Mining Corp. anunció hoy la suspensión de sus actividades de exploración en la isla indonesia de Sumbawa, después de que el área sufriera un incendio provocado. 'Newmont está decepcionada por el acto ilegal que un pequeño grupo de gente ha provocado', dijo en un comunicado la multinacional, que advirtió que el cierre causará la pérdida de los negocios y puestos de trabajo creados en la isla.

El incendio se produjo el domingo, un día después de que los trabajadores de la mina fueran evacuados debido a las amenazas recibidas por la dirección. La Policía ha abierto una investigación para buscar a los culpables.

Este es el último de una serie de ataques contra las compañías mineras internacionales que operan en el archipiélago indonesio.

Residentes de Minahasa, al norte de las Célebes y de Timika, al oeste de Papúa, se han enfrentado recientemente a mineras de capital estadounidense por considerar que las explotaciones no repercuten en el bienestar de la comunidad y provocan graves daños medioambientales.

Al menos tres policías y un militar murieron y decenas de civiles y agents policiales resultaron heridos el pasado jueves en Jayapura, la capital de Papúa, en una protesta contra la multinacional Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc.

Ante la avalancha de protestas, el ministro coordinador de Política y Seguridad, As Widodo, anunció que el Gobierno realizará auditorías para averiguar si las compañías 'han beneficiado o no a la comunidad local'.

 

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