Around 300 million tons of Freeport tailings waste is dumped into the sea every day, more than 600 residents suffer

PT Freeport Indonesia mining operation that is already more than a half century in Papua, has been creating prolonged suffering for residents and the environment. After clearing away local mountain and land being plunder and perforated, the river which is a part of Papuan living space –especially Kamoro and Sempan tribes, is being poisoned by millions of tons of lethal tailing every day.

Not only polluted, rivers that are essential for transport and life stocks, are also shallow.  This caused a number of local resident settlements (villages) to be isolated. More than 300 million tons of tailing waste that was thrown into the sea is suspected to be the trigger of the emergence of skin disease for residents, as suffered by the Otakwa residents (Ohotya).

Ironically, those environmental and humanity crimes are abandoned to this day. The Government and PT Freeport Indonesia are only considering the stock and money, making sure that the country’s revenue keeps flowing, uninterrupted.

PT Freeport Indonesia appears to not be responsible, then seeking excuse that it used it’s concession mapping area as the basis of compensation to those who are affected, unwilling to take responsibility for all destructive power suffered by the people of Sempan, Amungme, and Kamoro in three villages, mainly for residents in 23 villages of Jita, Agimuga and Mimika Timur Jauh Districts.

On the other hand, President Jokowi, after initiating divestation on Freeport’s stock as 51,2%, warned the public not to think that PT Freeport Indonesia is owned by the US. The reality is the great amount of the stock composition ownership, in fact, gives no influence  on emerging states’ sovereignty to ensure legal enforcement for corporate crime. Otherwise, more crimes are left abandoned and continued, even the state itself becomes a part of the perpetrators.

Recurring resistance and protest from affected residents were responded with repressive  state-corporate action. Even worse, PT Freeport Indonesia frequently takes scheming ways, for instance getting around determined indigenous leaders as part of affected people representatives participating in Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL) review. The sly ways, besides not being based on the people’s aspiration thoroughly, are in fact, triggering social conflicts among the people.

That series of environment and humanity crimes that keep left repeatedly, had already been reported to the central government, through Commission IV of DPR RI. On Wednesday, (01/02/23), for instance, the member of Papuan representative and the Papua Special Team (Poksus Papua), John Gobay along with Adolfina Kuum from Lepemawi Foundation, Timika attended a public hearing at Indonesian Parliament.

During this public hearing, John Gobay and Adolfina Kuum urged the Government  to hold a comprehensive audit immediately to all mining operations of Freeport, especially for effects affecting the residents and environment.

“Shallowing rivers by tailing waste is actually happening. Life of the Kamoro and Sempan residents, known as the 3S culture in Indonesia (sungai or river, sampan or boat, and sagu or sago) is getting lost,” said John Gobay.

Meanwhile, Adolfina Kuum questioned the state’s helplessness in front of a number of  Freeport’s crimes towards Papuan and their environment. “The Government and Freeport have stolen Papuan wealthy.  No legal enforcement applied on the corporate crimes, let alone doing recovery and compensation for all destruction made,” said Doli.

Based on all these findings on environmental and humanity crimes mentioned above, Muh. Jamil, JATAM’s Head of Legal Division  the 51% stock acquisition on Freeport has no impact on strengthening sovereignty of Indonesian government in ruling Freeport to obey and adhere to law and regulation.

“There’s a parade of violations done collectively by the collaboration of corporate and state by doing abandonment on criminal practice without any law enforcement. This clearly showed an open disobeyment of  corporate–state towards the UUD 1945 constitution,’ Jamil stated.

According to Jamil, the abandonment of all those crimes is not surprising, for the Indonesian government has been repeatedly losing tact and subject to Freeport.

Firstly, President Megawati in 2004 issued a Presidential Decree (Keppres) which legalized 13 mining companies, whose areas overlapped protected forests, permitting them to continue their operational activities in the areas until the end of their contract. PT Freeport Indonesia was on the first list of this company list.

Secondly, the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources revoked Ministerial Regulation Number 11/2014 by issuing Ministerial Regulation Number 5/2016 that was finally given dispensation for PT Freeport to keep exporting their raw mining materials concentrate overseas.

Thirdly, the Indonesian Ministry of Environmental and Forestry -that lost tact in 2018 when  found 22 activities violent Environmental Impact Analysis, one of them was expansion of open pit mining scale in Grasberg from 410 hectares to 584 hectares- made five rivers as the place to waste lethal tailing disposal containing mercury and cyanide; rather than holding law enforcement, this ministry issued a letter for PT Freeport Indonesia to compile Document of Environmental Evaluation (DELH).

Fourth, BPK’s finding mentioned that there is state loss reaching Rp 185 billion caused by Freeport activity utilising protected forest during its operation, which covered at least 4.535 hectares without Leasehold of Forest Area License (IPPKH).

Meanwhile, related to horizontal conflicts caused by sly ways of Freeport in selecting only determined people to participate in reviewing Environment Impact Analysis (AMDAL) as the  requirement of Environmental Permit issuance and other documents related to mining activities, was also in violation of the regulation.

“People participation model a la PT Freeport Indonesia is wrong according to law,violating regulation Chapter 26 of PPLH Law Number 32/2009 and its derivatives, Ministerial Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry Number 17/2012 on Guidelines of People Participation in Review Process of Environmental Impact Analysis and Environmental Permit,” Jamil stated. According to Jamil, whether the process is continued by PT Freeport Indonesia and the Minister of Environment and Forestry, then the maka Environmental Impact Analysis and Environmental Permit results will be procedural and juridical defects. Therefore, it must be declared null and void.


Contact Person:

  1. Adolfina Kuum – Lepemawi Foundation Activist – +6282198456188
  2. John Gobay – Member of Papuan Repr, Papuan Special Group Leader (Poksus)- +6282199664581
  3. Muh. Jamil – Head of Legal Division of JATAM – +6282156470477