Freeport has yet to help Papua: DPD

Markus Makur, The Jakarta Post, Timika | Wed, 02/24/2010 10:10 AM | National

PT Freeport Indonesia has not helped develop human resources in Papua, particularly in the Amungme and Kamoro tribes, a member of the Regional Representatives’ Council (DPD) says.

During a meeting at the Mimika regent’s house, council member Mervin Sadipun Komber questioned if any members of the Amungme and Kamoro tribes, the traditional owners of the communal reserve land used for the company’s mining activities, had earned doctoral or master’s degrees.

“If there were any, how many were there?” Mervin asked.

Freeport Indonesia (FI) had not helped develop human resources since it commenced operations in Papua, he said.

No one from either the Amungme or Kamoro tribes held post graduate academic titles, Mervin said.

Komber, a representative from West Papua, said the meeting was part of a tour of Papua undertaken by nine of the council’s members, aiming to accommodate aspirations from the provincial and Mimika regency administrations in three sectors — minerals and coal, infrastructure and electricity.

Council members questioned Freeport Indonesia’s corporate social responsibility programs, especially in providing education to members of the Amungme and Kamoro communities.

The entourage arrived in Jayapura to meet Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu and visited border areas between (Indonesian) Papua and Papua New Guinea. The group also met the Jayapura mayor.

“Papua is deprived of infrastructure, especially road networks that are needed to open up isolated areas across the province.

“Today, we visited Mimika to take in the aspirations and current issues in Mimika, for example in community development, corporate social responsibility [CSR] programs, mining and the environment, human rights in Mimika and Papua, and whether FI has made people around the mining area prosperous,” Bambang said.

Mimika Regent Klemen Tinal said developing Papua was as simple as ending isolation, especially in the central mountainous region and southern Papua.

To develop central Papua, Klemen said Mimika was a strategic regency, given that it could link the entire central mountainous region.

However, so far Freeport had not contributed a cent to the development of Mimika, he said.

Royalties and taxes derived from the companies operations were regulated by law, but Mimika regency administration had never received direct assistance from it and its closure was not a problem for the administration, he said.

Issues related to Freeport’s mining operations that needed immediate attention included the ecological and environmental damage it caused, as well as promised benefits from the mining that had not materialized in communities around mining concession areas, he said.

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