18 May 2012

Environmental NGO claims Papuan landowners exploited

10:30 am on 18 May 2012

An international environmental group says a Hong Kong owned oil palm developer paid traditional landowners in Indonesia's Papua region as little as 65 cents a hectare for their forestland.

The London based, Environmental Investigation Agency, says the company, PT Henrison Inti Persada, bought land and timber from the Moi clans at extremely low prices.

It says it paid the tribesmen less than 1000 US dollars for nearly 15 square kilometres of forest.

Henrison could not be reached for comment.

But when the Hong Kong-based commodities conglomerate Noble Group bought a majority stake in the company in 2010, industry analysts estimated the plantation would be worth 162 million US dollars when developed.

And it says Norway, which is providing a billion US dollars to help Indonesia save its tropical forests, is also a major investor in Noble Group through its sovereign wealth fund.