16 Jul 2010

Indonesia demands inquiry into reports Freeport illegally mines uranium

1:14 pm on 16 July 2010

Indonesia's House of Representatives has demanded an immediate investigation into accusations that PT Freeport Indonesia is illegally secretly mining uranium in Papua.

The Jakarta Globe reports that the House said the multi-national company would need to provide clarification on the matter.

The chairman of the House's United Development Party, Hazrul Azwar, says that if the allegations are true, Freeport could be penalised, including changes to their operating contract with the Government.

His statement comes after a Papua Legislative Councillor, Yan Mandenas, claimed that Freeport had been covertly mining uranium for at least eight months.

This is despite the widely-held belief that Indonesia does not possess viable deposits of the strictly controlled mineral.

The councillor had also claimed Freeport had illegally mined coal and other minerals not listed in its permits at its giant Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua since 1964.

Freeport, however, has denied all the allegations.