12 May 2006

Indonesia lawmakers confirm report of pollution at Papua mine

1:31 pm on 12 May 2006

A report sanctioned by Indonesia's House of Representatives has confirmed that the Freeport mine in Papua is causing severe damage to the environment.

The Jakarta Post reports that the team, formed by the House working committee investigating Freeport's operations, confirmed earlier similar findings about the tailing system used at the mine.

The report concludes that rather than resorting to a more environmentally-friendly system, the US-based mining giant has simply disposed of 800 million tonnes of hazardous waste in nearby streams.

It says that as a result, tailings are scattered randomly, forming small islands before reaching the coastline and causing severe destruction to the environment.

The tailings have reached the surface where the water has turned black with a silver sheen.

The House team also criticised Freeport's book-keeping, saying for many years it has not been transparent.

As a consequence, the government and the public has never had information about how much Freeport has profited from its mining activities in Papua.