The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua have very rich natural resources, i.e Gold, Copper, Oil, etc., huge tropical forest, and lots of beautiful locations for tourists.
And the most profitable business in Papua is the Gold and Copper mining operated by PT. Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of the U.S based mining company Freeport McMoran, which have been there for around 40 years.
In spite of this fact, unfortunately many parts of Papua are still underdeveloped compared to other provinces in Indonesia.
Since the Indonesian democratic reform in 1998, the people of Papua tried to negotiate for fair share of Freeport’s profit, but in vain. Their complaints with the local & central government were not responsed as they have expected. These disappointments have inspired some people in Papua to rebel against the government, for which purpose they have frequently attacked the mining company and killed many people. In 2002, two Americans and an Indonesian were killed in an ambush near the Grasberg operations, which is one of the world’s largest massive open-pit mines.
Last Saturday, Drew Nicholas Grant, an Australian mining technician, was shot in the neck as he traveled in a car with five others on a road near the mining location. And earlier today, the company's security guard was killed and seven other people were injured in a pair of attacks by suspected rebels, police and company officials said.
Details regarding the above killings can be read here, here and here.
I hope that the results of the recent Parliamentary and Presidential elections would enable our government to work on a much better agenda for peaceful settlement of the unrest in Papua, a.o. by persuading Freeport to share much more of their profits for the acceleration of the development in Papua.
Image:Courtesy of PapuaWeb