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Jakarta Post

Papua turmoil and its people's discontent

  • Winarno Zain

    Commissioner of a publicly listed oil and gas services company

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 21 2019   /  01:29 am

The violent unrest and demonstrations that occurred this month in several cities in Papua that have killed dozens and injured hundreds has brought to our attention the Papuans’ feelings of anger and frustration as well as the question of how economic growth in our easternmost province has benefitted Papuans.In the six years from 2013 to 2018, the Papua regional gross domestic product (RGDP) grew at a higher rate than national growth in GDP, driven largely by mineral exports. But things began changing in the fourth quarter of 2018, when copper production and exports plummeted. PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI), which has the largest recoverable copper and gold reserves in the world at Grasberg, started phasing out copper production at the Grasberg open-pit mine and transferring its production focus to the huge Grasberg Block Cave underground mine.This has had a huge impact on the Papuan econ...