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Analysis

Uranium and gold in the Land of New Guinea but in the hand of China and US

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Ilustration of Freeport Headquarter – IST

Jayapura, Jubi,  The National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) has been exploring radioactive minerals (nuclear minerals) in several regions in Indonesia some time ago. The result found a number of potential uranium in some places.

BATAN cited the findings of uranium mineral potential in Kalan, Melawi, West Kalimantan.
In addition there are other potential areas contain uranium, such as in the province of Bangka Belitung Islands, Mamuju regency, West Sulawesi, Sibolga North Sumatra, and Biak Papua.
BATAN calculates the amount of uranium potential in Indonesia reaches 7,000 tons.
“The total potential containt in Indonesia is 7,000 tons, in various places in Mamuju, Kalan, Papua, and other places, which has definitely clear in Kalan,” explained Head of Batan Sudi Ariyanto as quoted by detikFinance.
In search of potential uranium in Indonesia, BATAN is also assisted by other agencies that help to map potential uranium in Indonesia. Through their mapping, BATAN claimed potential uranium in Papua is laid in Biak Island.
Speculation on Obamas visit 
But later developed allegations there are also uranium mines in Grasberg Papua. It is suspected that there is uranium in Grasberg from the speculation of Obama’s visit to Indonesia related to the continued investment of Freeport and uranium in Papua.
How important is mining investment in Papua that making former US President Barack Obama came to Indonesia? Similarly, former US vice president Mike Pence also paid visit to the country which is suspected to have associate with the continuation of PT Freeport’s work contract.
Even though Obama, who had lived in Jakarta in 1967-1971, came to Jakarta as a keynote speaker at the International Diaspora Congress held by Dino Pati Djalal, unofficial visits are suspected to be a high-level Freeport broker to Indonesia.
It is known from the experience of Bill Clinton visited Senegal to talk about Cevron. This could happen with the same purposes especially because allegedly a Chinese mining company Zijin Mining Group Company Limited is ready to take over Freeport from the United States.
Zijin Mining Group Company Limited, according to Reuters is a China-based company engaged in exploration, mining, smelting and sales of gold and other metal minerals.
The Company’s main products include gold, copper, lead and zinc, iron, and silver products among others. The gold products mainly include mineral gold, standard gold bars, gold ingots and gold concentrates. The company is also involved in geographic survey business through its subsidiaries.
If it were true than it was logical that Obama would come to Jakarta to discuss the Freeport contract to break the Chinese mining company.
Nevertheless President Jokowi has invited Obama three times. “The First was early 2015,” the president said in a statement issued by Bey Machmudin, Head of Press, Media and Information Bureau of the Presidential Secretariat on Friday (June 30).
He said the 44th President of the United States had also spent time to travel to Bali and Yogyakarta. In addition, Obama also met President Jokowi. Retno Marsudi, Indonesia Foreign Minister said Obama’s arrival to Indonesia was based on Jokowi’s invitation.
Chinas hand in Freeport Indonesia?
Freeport McMoran itself is rumored to have sold its majority stake in Tenke Fungurume bronze mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Molybdenum China worth 2.65 billion US dollars (about Rp35, 35 trillion).
Molybdenum Co., Ltd., as quoted by Jubi from Reuters is a China-based company, mainly engaged in mining, smelting, processing and trading of metals, such as molybdenum, tungsten and copper.
The company runs its business through five segments. The Molybdenum Segment, Tungsten and related products are mainly engaged in mining of molybdenum and tungsten. The copper, gold and related products segment is mainly engaged in copper and gold mining.
Segments Niobium and related products are engaged in the business of niobium manufacturing. The phosphorus segment is involved in the phosphate-making business. The copper and cobalt segments move in the production of copper and cobalt. The company runs its business mainly in China, Australia, Brazil and Congo.
In addition, Aaron Regent’s Barrick Gold, also the right-hand man of Li Khai Shing and Mine at Tenke Fungurume in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Chinese Molybdenum, has also bought Freeport’s share of ownership in Chile.
It is not surprising that on the basis of this allegation it is said that a China consortium will buy the ownership of PT Freeport Indonesia shares. This becomes more and more visible, and should not be taken lightly.
The Prodemocracy Activist Network (Prodem) supports the government’s efforts to nationalize the shares of PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), but may not be purchased by a Chinese company.
“The seriousness of the government by changing the Contract of Work system to IUPK (Special Mining License) to PT FI should be supported,” said Satyo P,  Secretary General of Prodem, as quoted by Antara.
Why is that so? Because according to him the divestment is still fragile from a case such as ‘Papa asks for shares’ or how China will conduct their bussiness present in PT FI.
The fears of the Pro-Democracy Network if China succeeds to seize Freeport’s shareholding because it is likely China would bring its workers from the country to fill the entire Freeport management structure at all levels, from upper-and lower-level management.
Australia worries on China in PNG
This concern is not only in Jakarta but the Australian government also feels uncomfortable about China’s influence in PNG amid increasing infrastructure investment. ABC News correspondent Eric Tlozek reports from Port Moresby PNG that a Chinese company has built a new Papua New Guinea hydroelectric project.
The $ 260 million Edevu Hydro project is a personal development, but PNG government officials say they are funded by China Development Bank.
This project is one of several major infrastructure developments in PNG funded or built by the Government of China. The PNG project is funded by Chinese loans. “This will be a development for the local economy,” China’s ambassador to PNG, Li Ruiyou, told at the launch.
“This will benefit the local community and this will also be a promotion of cooperation between the two countries.”
Australia’s defense and diplomatic community expressed personal anxiety about China’s growing influence in Papua New Guinea, where the Chinese Government is investing billions in funds for infrastructure and business development.
Is there uranium in Grasberg?
Then what about the United States and Freeport in Grasberg? Is it just a gold mine and not an uranium?
Freeport made a huge profit from mining in Papua. The Chinese economic intelligence apparatus must know that Indonesian mining is a gold mine for Freeport. How Indonesia has contributed 93.6 percent of Freeport gold sales over the years.
Grasberg mining in Papua has contributed 29 billion lbs of copper reserves or 28 percent of Freeport’s total copper reserves of 103.5 billion lbs worldwide. But Papua has donated Au 28.2 million ozs or reached 98.9 percent of Freeport’s worldwide gold reserves of Au 28.5 million ozs.
The mine in Bumi Amungsa Papua is a gold mine for Freeport. These facts have been included in the review and supervision of Zijin Mining Group Company Limited. If the Chinese company, of course also with the approval and support of the Chinese Consortium, is indeed seriously taking the ownership of Freeport Indonesia from the hands of Freeport McMoran United States.
However, is it true that Freeport only conducted the gold mining? Based on the information quoted by Jubi from Aktual.com based on research conducted by a company called Gladians it is said that Jayawijaya Ice Mountaint countain pure pristine invaluable gold.
Regardless the pros and cons of Chinese merchandising and political maps in the Melanesian region, the government of China is building the Office of the nMelanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) in Port Villa. Even Fiji and the Melanesian countries finally recognize one China and release Taiwan from a network of business cooperation.
Not only that PNG will host an APEC meeting on November 2018 and has officially invited Chinese President Xi Jinping including US Presidency Donald Trump.
No wonder the proximity of China with the Melanesian countries make Australia and the United States very worried.(*)

Analysis

Indonesia’s pressure tactics over West Papua issue resemble the actions of China over Tibet

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Protest lead by National Committee of West Papua were always faced repressive measures by the security forces – Jubi

By Nithin Coca

EARLIER this month, the Indonesian military raided and destroyed the offices of the West Papuan National Committee, a separatist group in the country’s easternmost region, which has long agitated for independence. The raid came amid allegations that the military had used chemical weapons in airstrikes on separatists in West Papua in late December. The Indonesian government has responded harshly after at least 17 construction workers were killed by West Papuan militants in early December, the deadliest such attack in West Papua in years.

This surge in unrest in the region is the outcome of a harder line that the Indonesian government has taken on West Papua in recent years. During the United Nations General Assembly last September, the prime minister of the tiny Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai, criticized that approach. Referring directly to West Papua, he said the Indonesian government needed to “put an end to all forms of violence and find common ground with the populations to establish a process that will allow them to freely express their choice.”

The reaction from Indonesia, which is usually quiet at the U.N., was fierce. President Joko Widodo hasn’t even bothered to attend the General Assembly in his five years in office, but his government immediately lambasted Salwai. Jakarta’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Dian Triansyah Djani, declared that “Indonesia will not let any country undermine its territorial integrity.” Referring to separatist and independence groups in West Papua, he said Indonesia also “fail[ed] to understand the motive behind Vanuatu’s intention in supporting a group of people who have [struck] terror and mayhem [on] so many occasions, creating fatalities and sadness to innocent families of their own communities.”

West Papua was not part of Indonesia when the country gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949. The region, which has a distinct ethnic and linguistic identity from mostly Polynesian Indonesia, was formally annexed in 1969 after what Indonesians call the “Act of Free Choice,” when a group of hand-selected Papuans voted unanimously in favor of Indonesian control in a vote marred by allegations of blackmail and coercion.

Since then, West Papua has been the site of regular violence, either from one of the many separatist groups on the island, or, more often, the Indonesian military. The island is rich in minerals, the revenue from which make up a significant portion of Indonesia’s budget. Freeport-McMoRan’s huge Grasberg mine alone provided more than $750 million in revenue in 2017.

Many West Papuans, either living in Indonesia or abroad, have been advocating for self-determination for years. But what was primarily a local conflict has now become more regional, as both sides have attempted to internationalize the issue. West Papuans are ethnically Melanesian, like the citizens of Vanuatu and other Pacific Island nations, such as the Solomon Islands and Fiji. West Papuan activists have been working to build connections with these countries, with the goal of having them speak up for Papuan independence, like Salwai did at the General Assembly.

“West Papua is a regional issue, because we are part of Melanesia, connected culturally and linguistically,” Benny Wenda, an exiled leader of the Free West Papua organization currently based in the United Kingdom, told WPR. “The majority in the Pacific islands, they don’t see West Papua as distant. It’s close to them.”

The main entity for cooperation in the region is the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum, founded in 1971, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group within it, which counts the four Melanesian nations as members. West Papuan advocates have used the forum to push for global recognition, including formal membership for West Papua as an occupied country.

Indonesia, however, has been pushing back by sowing discord among the forum’s members. It provided military support to Fiji after the island’s 2006 coup, which had led to the imposition of Western sanctions, and offered significant aid to Papua New Guinea. With both countries’ support, in 2011, Indonesia was granted observer status in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Since then, attempts by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, an umbrella organization of independence groups, to get a similar status have proved futile. Now, both Fiji and Papua New Guinea say they support Indonesia’s full membership in the group, which would push the West Papua issue to the sidelines.

Since Indonesia got its observer status, “the MSG has become an empty house,” says James Elmslie, a political scientist with the West Papua Project at the University of Sydney. “The MSG is now split on the issue.”

Indonesia’s pressure tactics resemble the actions of a much bigger power in Asia dealing with territories it considers its own: China. Having long sought to isolate supporters of Tibet, China regularly pushes countries to refuse access to the Dalai Lama, as both Russia and South Africa have done in recent years. Beijing also uses a carrot-and-stick strategy to shrink the number of countries that recognize Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province. In the past year, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic have dropped their diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favor of China. Like other countries that have done this, they can expect to be rewarded with aid, investments and more. Conversely, countries that refuse to switch, like Palau, have been squeezed by China and seen their tourism industries suffer.

Unlike China, though, Indonesia is a democracy, one that is often hailed as a model for both Asia and the Islamic world. There was a small window of opportunity, right after the fall of the three-decades long Suharto dictatorship in 1998, when newly democratic Indonesia was engaging with pro-independence activists in West Papua. At the time, East Timor was permitted to hold an independence referendum, and there were calls for something similar in West Papua.

But when reformist President Abdurrahman Wahid—facing corruption allegations, economic woes and political unrest—was forced to step down in 2001, that window slammed shut. The Indonesian military reasserted control, killing Papuan independence leader Theys Eluay, and things went back to the status quo of repression. Indonesia continued to exploit the region for resources and suppress the voices of Papuans. Democracy may have transformed Indonesia, but it brought little change to West Papua.

Now the situation is only getting worse. The core problem is that unlike a decade ago, the Indonesian government is refusing to engage peacefully, instead allowing, either implicitly or explicitly, the Indonesian military to take the lead.

Getting an independent view of what’s taking place in West Papua remains as difficult as ever. For decades, the Indonesian government has essentially closed off the region to journalists, international observers and NGOs. The few who do enter face risk of arrest, like Jakub Fabian Skrzypzki, a Polish citizen who is now on trial for alleged ties to Papuan separatists and faces potential life imprisonment in Indonesia if convicted.

It looks like another move out of China’s playbook. Why would democratic Indonesia go that route? Because so far, it’s working.

Nithin Coca is a freelance journalist who focuses on social, economic, and political issues in developing countries, and has specific expertise in Southeast Asia.

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Analysis

Baby Kana, three forgotten people in the story of Puti Hatil and Korowai (Part 3) 

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Illustration of health crisis of Korowai people where an evangelist Jimmy Weyato is preparing a coffin – Jubi/Agus Pabika

Written by Rev. Trevor Christian Johnson

Jakarta, Jubi – The 3rd and final forgotten person I want to write about during the drama of Puti Hatil’s sickness and healing is Baby Kana, also from Afimabul.

The day that Dakinus led Daniel and his baby son to Danowage, Baby Kana was also carried with them in their group.  She was also brought to Danowage along with Puti Hatil. But she did not heal.

Read: Danil Hatil, three forgotten people in the story of  Puti Hatil and Korowai (Part 1)

Dakinus Wanimbo, three forgotten people in the story of  Puti Hatil and Korowai (Part 2)

Last week (end of December) Puti was flown back to his village by helicopter, his cheek sewn closed and the wound clean and dry and healthy. He was returned to the Korowai region because he was healed and was sick no more.

He is a success story.

But Baby Kana also suffers no more. She also no longer has any illness. Instead of being flown back to her village by helicopter, however, she was returned to the dust of the earth.

She has now been dead for over 6 weeks.

Most people do not know that this other small child was also brought to Danowage from Afimabul during the same trip along with Puti Hatil. They were both carried to Danowage together.

While Puti was being cared for in the VIP Room at Dian Harapan Hospital with many visitors and enjoying much media attention and money was being gathered on his behalf, the baby Kana lay rotting in the ground, buried in a very simple wooden coffin made from rough boards.

She was yet another statistic demonstrating the poor condition of healthcare in this region.

We wanted to help her so bad. We did our best. But she died during the night. When we received her in Danowage she had already been sick for a whole month, and she was just too sick and weak to recover when she arrived.

Maybe the journey was too much for her. We did not have a chance to really treat her or an opportunity to fly her out to the hospital like Puti.

But Baby Kana is just as much a part of this story as Puti. The child Puti Hatil was saved. Baby Kana was not.

But help came because of Puti.

God is using the case of Puti to bless the entire Korowai region. And through Puti’s sufferings, the whole Korowai region seems to be experiencing a blessing of health care.

He became a symbol to rally around and to gather help and support. Because of Puti’s pain, many Korowai children will not need to experience illness or death.

After many long years of waiting for help, we are now being flooded. I can only praise the churches and students and the government officials who are very quick to help.

Upon hearing of the health crisis in the Korowai region, the Governor of Papua Lukas Enembe quickly responded and visited Danowage and promised more help and embraced many of the local people, showing his heart for the interior peoples of Papua.

Many good people are now involved and working together from both church and government to help the Korowai.

But sometimes I fear. Sometimes I fear that it will not be the case of Puti Hatil that is representative of the help that is coming to the Korowai region (a very sick baby who was helped and healed and returned successfully to the city).

Sometimes I am afraid that people will soon forget the trials of the Korowai. Instead of Puti Hatil being a symbol of hope, I am afraid that the case of Baby Kana will become a more fitting symbol – a child who died without help and will be forgotten unless I can keep her memory alive through written articles such as this.

We have two future options for the Korowai. Who will better represent the fate of the Korowai, Puti Hatil and his rescue? Or Baby Kana and her death?

This is the real tragedy of Papua; while 90% of the media is focused on politics in the cities, the interior peoples of Papua go to bed hungry and many die due to neglect.  There are MANY Puti Hatils in my region. Even more sadly, there are many MORE Baby Kanas.

Between the years 2009 and 2015, shootings within the Freeport Mine project area killed 20 people and injured 59. In that same period of time illness and disease has killed much more in just this Korowai region of Papua where I serve.

I pray and plead that this is the last year that their cries will go unheard. (End)

 

Editor: Zely Ariane

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Analysis

The ties that bind Papua and Indonesia

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By Karim Raslan

Source: South China Morning Post

Maria Hestina, Maria Korwa and Mega Imbiri represent hopes of young Papuans in Sorong – Karim Raslan/scmp

Jayapura, Jubi – Young Papuans in an eastern Indonesian boom town are excited about the future, thanks to a resurgent economy. But will the good times last?

Sorong is booming. With 9.3 per cent GDP growth in 2016 (almost double Indonesia’s average) and located on the westernmost point of Papua, the 300,000-strong city is fast becoming a regional transport and logistics hub, boosted by its proximity to the fabled Raja Ampat islands and the ever-elusive bird of paradise.

However, Sorong isn’t a pretty sight. In fact, the city feels as if it’s still emerging from the scrubland – its urban sprawl stretching many kilometres into the interior, far from the waterfront that’s now bustling with activity.

I was very curious how the younger generation – the city’s millennials – viewed their future.

Were they optimistic? Did they see the new airport, port and Trans Papua Highway as the harbingers of a prosperous future? How were relations between indigenous Papuans and newer communities – the Bugis, Javanese and Minahassans?

I met three 18-year-old students: Maria Hestina, Maria Korwa and Mega Imbiri. All three were studying at the city’s largest tertiary institution, the Sorong Muhammadiyah University.

Maria Hestina is the daughter of transmigrants, her family was originally from Flores in East Nusa Tenggara. Her parents – now divorced – weren’t well-to-do. Her father was a labourer while her mother sold petrol and fruits at the market.

Maria Korwa’s family has been in Papua for generations. She was the product of an interreligious marriage: her father was Muslim while her mother was Christian. In an arrangement that is common in some part of Indonesia, her brothers were Muslim but her sisters and she were Christian.

Mega Imbiri was the daughter of a fisherman and a housewife, both of whom are Papuan natives.

“My father has to go out to sea every day and sometimes comes back with very few fish. He has to brave the rain, the waves and saltwater. … As a child I would hold his hands; they were always coarse.

Papua has long been considered a restive, troubled part of Indonesia.

However, Sorong, on the very “tip” of the island, has largely escaped the turmoil of the interior.

Instead, the city has benefited enormously from the current administration’s focus on strengthening transport links with the rest of the republic – creating a boom that more than matches Timika, the central Papuan town, home to Grasberg, the world’s largest gold mine and second largest copper mine run by the controversial American miner Freeport-McMoRan.

The three young women present a positive “spin” to the Eastern Indonesian region. Their religious diversity is remarkable – Maria Hestina is Catholic, Maria Korwa is Pentecostal Christian and Mega Imbiri is Protestant. Maria Hestina is a first-generation transmigrant while Maria Korwa and Mega Imbiri are natives.

Maria Korwa is unequivocal about the province’s problems.

“There’s a lot of crime in Sorong. Every day, there are muggings, fuelled by alcoholism and drug addiction – including glue-sniffing among youths.”

Maria Hestina adds: “Around 2005-2006, the water supply was very unreliable and we often suffered from blackouts. It has improved since then, but there’s still a long way to go.”

“The price of petrol has also gone up – it’s now 5,000 rupiah per litre. I know because my mother sells petrol; people are finding it difficult to cope.”

Mega Imbiri has her own take.

“Development is difficult in Papua. The terrain is hilly and heavily forested. It will take years before projects see results. What makes me very happy is the attention Jokowi (Indonesian President Joko Widodo) has been giving Papua. He’s visited the island more times than any other president before him.”

The administration’s initiatives have already begun to bear fruit. Maria Hestina noted that under former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jokowi, primary and secondary education was made free. On December 20, the government announced plans to bring electricity to the whole of Papua and build new roads.

While the two provinces (Papua and West Papua) continue to represent a major challenge to Indonesian unity and stability – the eagle-eyed focus on economic growth has brought tangible gains to their people.

It’s this transformation that may well hold the key to binding the island of Papua to Indonesia.

Admittedly, this is a very positive take – that the current administration’s focus on economic grievances is having an impact. But is it enough?(*)

 

Editor: Zely Ariane

 

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