Wednesday, 26th April 2017

Papua religious leaders calls on government to consider locals` interest

27th February 2017 | 2.478 Views
Papua religious leaders calls on government to consider locals` interest
Photo document of open mining area of ​​PT Freeport Indonesia in Timika, Papua. (ANTARA/Muhammad Adimaja)
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Papua religious leaders have called on the government not to put aside the interest of the local community, amidst the dispute with the US mining firm PT Freeport Indonesia (FI).

"We have called for Papuans rights to be placed as significant as the current controversy between the government and PT Freeport and the minister has agreed on that," Timika bishop John Philip Saklil said, after meeting Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan to discuss the issue here, on Monday.

He has also called on the company to stop laying-off its workers.

"Whether it would continue the operation or not, the environment should be recovered. In addition, other rights, such as the fund for local community, were still unclear," John stated.

Negotiations between the government and Freeport are yet to create a positive impact to local people, he pointed out.

Previously, activists from the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) had called on the government and PT Freeport to consider the environmental impact for Papua rather than its business contract.

"Billions of tons of waste are spilled by PT Freeport into Papuas rivers. The environment around the mining has been deteriorated. There should be a special attention here," Melky Nahar noted.

Melky also noted that the ministerial decree on mining export would also harm local Papuans.

"I think the situation of Papuans living here is not considered seriously," he added.

Freeport has often used issues such as lay-off, refusal to close mining operation from tribal chiefs, and threats to bring the case to international arbitration.

However, the parent company Freeport McMoran Inc. has asserted that it would continue its operation in Indonesia despite possible failure to reach agreement on the contractual dispute with the government.

(Reported by Afut Syafril/Uu.S022/INE/KR-BSR/A014)