22 Dec 2015

Papuans not consulted in Freeport negotiations

9:06 am on 22 December 2015

A West Papuan church leader says US mining company Freeport McMoran and Jakarta continue to do business as they've always done it - without consulting Papuans.

West Papuans have long expressed frustration about the environmental destruction caused by the Freeport mine operations in Mimika regency.

Freeport mining in Mimika regency Photo: MIneral Policy Institute

The comment from the chairman of the Kingmi Church, Benny Giay, comes amid negotiations between Indonesia's government and US miner Freeport McMoran over extension of its lucrative Papua contract.

Reverend Giay says that despite this, seven tribes in the Mimika area where the Freeport mining complex is located are trying to have their voices heard in the negotiations.

However he says historically, the indigenous people, who are customary landowner of the land Freeport operates on, do not figure in discussions.

"I think what we have seen is that Jakarta and freeport are ignoring the Papuans as they have done in the past, in their discussion, their talks over freeport in Papua."

Novanto scandal 'not new'

Reverend Giay says Indonesian lawmakers enriching themselves at the cost of Papua resources is not new.

The comment follows the resignation of Indonesia's parliamentary speaker for allegedly seeking to extort a stake in lucrative mining operations in Papua.

Setya Novanto quit after exposure of a recording of secret talks related to onging negotiations between the government and miner Freeport McMoran over extension of its current contract.

Reverend Giay says despite being customary owners of the resource, Papuans are rarely considered in negotiations over the mine contract.

He says the Novanto scandal merely echoes what President Suharto used to do.

"Jakarta has not changed much: the officials, their mentality, their culture, their orientations. It's very sad that we Papuans will go through our history, in the future, with these kinds of authorities in power."