Indonesia to Freeport: Clean up mining operations or we’ll sue

Indonesia has warned New Orleans-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan that it will sue if the company doesn’t clean up its gold and copper mining operation in Papua — ideally in the next two to three years. Politicians and eco-advocates have charged Freeport with polluting streams and rivers and killing wildlife, and now a report from Indonesia’s Environment Ministry — the country’s first serious investigation into Freeport’s environmental practices — has found that the company is dumping thousands of tons of harmful tailings into Papuan rivers. Although Indonesia is eager for foreign investment to bolster its economy, Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar insists that Freeport must adhere to government standards. “Freeport shouldn’t be its own country within a country,” said Witoelar. “There are 500 other companies like Freeport here that follow the rules.” Freeport says it will cooperate fully with the Indonesian government.