Freeport Your Mine, and Unrest Will Follow
Mining companies dig up trouble in Indonesia
Two U.S.-based mining companies are digging up trouble in Indonesia. A protest last week demanding closure of a Freeport-McMoRan gold and copper mine in the Papua province led to the deaths of at least three police officers and one soldier, then to the military seizing control of the provincial capital, then to military officers pulling locals out of their cars and beating them. Freeport-McMoRan makes large payments to the Indonesian army and Papua police for security services at its mining operations. The protesters in Papua say the mine brings no benefits to the local community and contaminates the area with pollution; waste from the facility covers 90 square miles, and 700,000 new tons are generated every day. Meanwhile, Newmont Mining Corp. suspended exploration on Indonesia’s Sumbawa Island after a camp for its workers was burned. Local protesters have said that Newmont’s operation brings no benefits to the local community and contaminates the area with pollution. Wait, that sounds familiar.