Indigenous Peoples

Down to Earth No. 73, May 2007

The giant copper and gold mine operated in West Papua by US-based mining company Freeport McMoran with substantial investment from the British multinational Rio Tinto has been under scrutiny once again.


The Freeport-Rio Tinto mine has been the subject of protests at local and national level in recent months. At the local level, thousands of Papuan workers at the mine went on strike for four days. Facing hundreds of military and police, they successfully demonstrated against discriminatory employment practices.

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

Freeport, operator of the giant Grasberg goldmine in West Papua, is in the public spotlight once again over its financial relationship with the Indonesian security forces.

After almost forty years of largely fruitless protest, Amungme and Kamoro indigenous owners of the Freeport concession area in West Papua can be forgiven their cynicism at the latest push for accountability from the US-based mining company, Freeport.

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

Despite protests from NGOs, the Asian Development Bank has approved a loan for BP's giant Tangguh gas project in West Papua.

In December 2005, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) decided to put US$350 million towards the $5.5 billion gas extraction and liquefied gas processing plant, now being developed by Anglo-US multinational BP, in Bintuni Bay, in the western part of West Papua.

This project has attracted critical attention because of the actual and potential impacts on local people and the e

Down to Earth No 66  August 2005

Land of peace for Papua: a basis for rebuilding Papua

On his recent visit to the UK and Ireland, Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, the President of the Alliance of Baptist Churches of West Papua, reiterated the call for peace talks to be held in West Papua. He pointed to the peace talks between GAM (Free Aceh Movement) and the government of Indonesia, which had struck an agreement including troop withdrawal and an arms amnesty for GAM, and said this should become a precedent.

Down to Earth No 65  May 2005

The following letter, slightly abridged here, was addressed to Lord John Browne, CEO of BP, and is dated December 8th 2004.

As individuals and organisations in West Papua and internationally who are closely following the Tangguh LNG Project in West Papua, we are writing to express our mounting concerns and to call for your immediate intervention…

…Our concerns are centred on:

  • inadequate progress on key human rights commitments
  • a worrying lack of transparency
  • a fai

Down to Earth No 65  May 2005

Status of the project

The 'final investment decision' to proceed with Tangguh came on March 7th, after many delays. The construction phase of the US$5 billion project is now expected to start in late 2005. Tangguh will be operational in 2008, with two full gas production units or 'trains' (Reuters7/Mar/05, TIAP 2004).

Down to Earth No 65  May 2005

An NGO report shows how West Papua's rich, extensive forests are being stripped to satisfy China's demand for timber. The Indonesia government, keen to demonstrate to the international community that it is taking illegal logging and timber smuggling seriously, responded by promising action against corrupt military, police and forestry personnel.