Thursday, March 14, 2013

1) Global campaigner seeks freedom for West Papua

1) Global campaigner seeks freedom for West Papua
2) RI to press Freeport on smelter deadline

1) Global campaigner seeks freedom for West Papua

Wenda has made the above statement in his first press conference in the Chiefs Nakamal this week.Global campaigner for the Freedom of the country and people of West Papua Benny Wenda wishes to thank the Government and Chiefs and people for allowing Vanuatu to be used as the beacon of hope in the Pacific for helping the people of West Papua to maintain their fifty-year old call for self-determination.
West Papua home of the birds of paradise, home of the tree kangaroos, home of the rivers. But today Wenda says, “West Papua is the home of the Indonesian military, home of the police and is almost a militarised zone and we don’t have any freedom and the media has been banned since Indonesia’s start of occupation in 1963.
“Indonesian has committed genocide on a Melanesian race. Indonesia looks at West Papuans as sub human. Indonesia looks at West Papuans as second class citizens and Indonesian soldiers are killing West Papuans based primarily on the colour of their skin. That is why Indonesians do not care for a Melanesian race in existence in West Papua. (I predict that) in 20-30 years’ time the Melanesian race will disappear from West Papua if the people of Vanuatu and others do not come to our aid now”.
Wenda says it is his hope that the people of Melanesia and especially the people of Vanuatu, will continue to raise the West Papua issue at all relevant regional and international forums in line with the “cry of the people of West Papua for freedom”.
To Port Vila-based West Papuan leaders Dr John Ondowane and Andy Ayamiseba, he thanks them for their lobbying on behalf of the people of West Papua. “We hope that Vanuatu will be our voice to carry our voice to the Melanesian Spearhead Group. That is our prayer, our dream and our hope that one day West Papua will become part of the MSG and be brought back to the Pacific because we are not Indonesians but Melanesians”, Wenda says.
He says Indonesian soldiers have killed 500,000 West Papuan men and women and children. “While I am speaking, in my home in the highlands of West Papua, there is an Indonesian military in operation right now and it has been going on for the last two months burning the houses and the churches and the killing is continuing”, Wenda says.
When he travels round the world and go to Africa, the Caribbean and even South America, the question that he is asked is, “What is the support like in the Pacific for your brothers and sisters in West Papua?”
Wenda says he answers, “We are getting support for our freedom especially from Vanuatu and this motivates them knowing that Vanuatu is our voice in the Pacific.
“The people of West Papua want to become independent because we are in the 21st century and yet West Papua is still a Dutch colony to an Indonesian colony and we West Papuans have to be free to determine our own destiny”.
He says the objective of his visit to Port Vila is to ask the relevant authorities to push to Government to speak out in support of the plight of the West Papuans. It is Wenda’s hope that Vanuatu will become the shining example for the right of the Melanesian states and Pacific island nations to unite under one call – Independence for West Papua.
Wenda who is based in London is a former political prisoner escapee, now travelling round the world to campaign against the constant killings of innocent Melanesians in West Papua by the Indonesian military, and to seek support for self-determination for West Papua.


2) RI to press Freeport on smelter deadline

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The government plans to push Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold to meet the 2014 deadline to construct smelting facilities as the mining giant remained reluctant, saying that the scheme was “difficult”.

Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s director general for coal and minerals affairs Thamrin Sihite said on Wednesday the government would try to facilitate the global miner, whose subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia operates the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua.

“We are willing to [...] provide incentives as long as they come up with a proposal on how to operate the facility in the country without hurting their business plan,” he told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview.

The top executive was responding to Freeport’s senior vice president of marketing and sales Javier Targhetta who said that while the company was more than willing to supply any new copper smelters in Indonesia with raw copper concentrates it remained reluctant to build smelting operations itself.

“We have our contract of work and are abiding by it. If there are any new smelting capacities built in Indonesia, we will make every effort to supply concentrate,” Targhetta said recently in Madrid as quoted by Reuters.

“Smelting is a difficult business. You have big capital expenditure and small or no margins at current treatment and refining charges [TC/RCs], and I don’t see TC/RCs improving in the coming years,” he added.

Commenting on this, Thamrin said the government would still hold discussions with Freeport in order for the latter to comply with the 2009 Mineral and Coal Law and an Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry regulation issued in May last year, which will be effective in 2014.

Under the regulations, the government is currently renegotiating contracts with foreign-based miners including Freeport Indonesia in a bid to push investors to add more value to the country’s mining sector. The government is also seeking higher royalty payments and divestment of controlling shares.

Currently, Freeport Indonesia, along with PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (NNT) — a subsidiary of US-based Newmont Corp. — supply copper ore to Indonesia’s sole copper smelter in Gresik, East Java, which is operated by PT Smelting Gresik.

Thamrin said a possible plan discussed was for Freeport Indonesia to invest in a smelting plant near the existing facility in Gresik, of which around 40 hectares of land could be provided to support the scheme.

Thamrin said while investors have been reluctant to build smelters in Indonesia as they claimed they had yet to receive certainty over ore supplies in addition to questions over infrastructure and power supply, those difficulties should not be a problem in Gresik.

Separately, Freeport Indonesia president director Rozik B. Soetjipto said the firm was ready to support the joint study with the government to review the feasibility of constructing smelting facilities.

One of the alternatives currently being discussed is for Freeport Indonesia to team up with another party who will build the smelter.

Separately, the Indonesian Mining Experts Association chairman Achmad Ardianto said that while Freeport must have their own reasons behind the reluctance to build smelters, the company should “open up” to the government over their problems to find a win-win solution.

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