Freeport asked to build smelter in Papua
Nethy Dharma Somba
The Jakarta Post
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe has told PT Freeport Indonesia to establish its planned smelter in Papua or risk being banished from the country's easternmost province.
'It is obligatory for the company to establish its smelter in Papua and if it declines to do so, it must leave, it will no longer be allowed to mine the province's natural resources because it will continue leaving the Papuan people in poverty,' he said after a meeting with President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo at the Presidential Palace on Thursday.
When contacted by The Jakarta Post on Friday, Enembe said the Papuan people opposed Freeport's plan to build its smelter in Gresik, East Java.
'Freeport should defend its plan to build the smelter in Gresik. How will Papua progress if all industries are established outside the province? When will the Papuan people be freed from poverty and the backwardness if the giant mining company processes the huge copper and gold deposits in other provinces?' he asked, adding that Papua was an integral part of the Indonesian republic.
The governor, regents and tribal leaders from Mimika were in Jakarta to lobby the central government to force the American company to build its smelter in Papua.
In relation to the petition, the governor said, the Papuan provincial administration had developed infrastructure such as a road leading to a waterfall in Urumka, the potential site for the establishment of a hydropower plant with a capacity of 600,000 megawatts.
'So Freeport has no plausible reasons not to build its smelter in Papua,' he argued, adding that the provincial administration had also provided a large area for the construction of a smelter near its mining site.
The governor declined to comment on the security aspect if the smelter were built in the province.
Enembe said that if Freeport declined to build its smelter in Papua, the provincial administration would partner with another company to build similar facilities in Papua and would make a regulation requiring the multinational company to use the facilities.
He added that the construction of a smelter in Mimika would contribute to the wealth of the province and employ more workers. (rms)(++++)
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