Foreign investment

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000

A series of official investigations into Freeport Indonesia, operators of the huge Grasberg gold and copper mine in West Papua, has done nothing as yet to curb the excessive environmental damage caused by the company.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000


Mining companies are lobbying to change legislation which prohibits open-pit mining in areas designated as protected forests.

"Forest lands can only be used for development needs other than forestry in Protection and Production Forest areas . . .  No open-pit mining is permissible within Protection Forest areas." 
(Article 38, Forestry Law 41, 1999)

Indonesia's new forestry law, passed last year, prohibits open-pit mining in forests classified as 'protected forests'.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000

Natural resources are one of the main factors underlying the independence struggle in Aceh, but decades of plunder have left them severely depleted.

The brutal murder of the internationally known Acehnese human rights activist, Jafar Siddiq Hamzah, reminded the world in September that the northern-most tip of Sumatra remains a dangerous place. Despite a 'humanitarian pause' signed by Indonesia and Acehnese independence leaders in June this year, the murders, disappearances and torture have continued.

Down to Earth No. 47, November 2000

Indonesian and foreign companies continue to profit from West Papua's resources as the military resumes its tough line with the independence movement.

Signs of a new get-tough policy in West Papua were confirmed when an estimated 3,700 additional troops were dispatched to the territory in early August. These included 1,700 troops from the mobile brigade police force, notorious for its brutal suppression of dissent. Most troops have been sent to Jayapura, Merauke and Timika regions.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

Another major obstacle to the sustainable management of natural resources is the continuing prominence of the military in many regions. Its continued high profile role from province to village level means that it is a potent threat to the success of regional autonomy, where 'success' means managing local resources sustainably, sharing benefits equitably and respecting human rights.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Indigenous communities whose forests have been plundered by logging companies are demanding compensation for the damage. Deprived of the protection they enjoyed under former President Suharto, the companies are having to take them seriously.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Opposition is mounting to large-scale mining in Indonesia as communities speak out about its effects on their lives and the environment, but foreign companies are warning the Wahid government not to change the contracts they signed during the Suharto regime.

Indonesia's foreign-dominated mining industry is on the defensive.