The Jakarta Post
Papuan authorities have closed a gold mine in Korowai in the southern part of Papua, following uproar among residents who protested the hiring of newcomers over local tribe members.
The mine was closed on Friday by Papua Governor Soedarmo, Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar and Cendrawasih Military Commander Maj. Gen. George E. Supit by sealing two helicopters at Tanah Merah airport in Boven Digoel regency.
The helicopters were said to be used to transport workers to the mining site, which is located close to where the Korowai tribe lives.
Some 3,000 miners reportedly work at the mine.
“We closed the mining site by closing access to the location. Two helicopters at Tanah Merah airport are sealed, as well as a helicopter at Nop Goliat Dekai in Yahukimo regency. Those helicopters were being used to transport miners and equipment to the mining site,” Papua Energy and Mineral Resources Agency (ESDM) acting head Fredi Boray said on Sunday.
He added that authorities would also close access to the mine’s waterway.
Separately, Papua Councillor John Jose Gobay said the mine should be managed by the local residents of Korowai, as stipulated in the 2014 law on local administrations.
He urged the Papua governor to propose to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry to hand over the mining site to the local tribe. (vny)