Thursday, February 16, 2017

1) Government disburses Rp 18.54b trillion for trans-Papua highway

3) Freeport Indonesia mine grinds to complete halt: union

1) Government disburses Rp 18.54b trillion for trans-Papua highway 
Jakarta | Thu, February 16, 2017 | 06:25 pm

A number of vehicles pass along a road in Tageneri in Puncak Jaya regency, Papua, on Aug. 29, 2016. Mud frequently covers the road, particularly after heavy rains and landslides. (Antara/Iwan Adisaputra)

The government has so far disbursed some 18.54 trillion (US$1.39 billion) for the construction of the trans-Papua highway, which is being funded by multi-year state budgets from 2015 to 2017, an official has said.
Public Works and Housing Ministry’s Bina Marga (road agency) director general Arie Setiaji M said that  Rp 5.78 trillion would be disbursed this year.
“As much as Rp 4.06 trillion is being allocated to construct the road and bridges in Papua, while another Rp 1.71 trillion is [for projects] in West Papua,” Arie said as reported by on Wednesday.
The total length of the trans-Papua highway is 3,259 kilometers, consisting of 10 road sections, Arie said, adding that the government had so far developed 2,789 kilometers.
He added that 1,570 kilometers of the road had been laid with asphalt. (bbn)




Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia has less than three months to deliver “full and free” press access to Papua provinces, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum.
“Jakarta risks global condemnation if it continues to ignore the facts,” warns PFF Chair Monica Miller. ”
A visit last month by media freedom campaigners proves that access for Papua press is still far from full and free”, she says.
Violence, Bullying, Sexual Harassment
An eight person delegation from MFCI, the Media Freedom Committee Indonesia, visited the Papua towns of Jayapura, Merauke and Timika, between 29 January to 3 February 2017. Their reported findings include :
– Ten cases of violence against journalists that are still not resolved. – Only 16 foreign press were given permits to visit Papua last year, with 11 forced to accept government guides.
– Different treatment from Indonesian officials for indigenous journalists versus Indonesian journalists – such as stigmatisation and intimidation of “OAP” – ‘original Papua persons’.
– Local press still need police permits to cover public gatherings, including protests.
– Women journalists routinely suffer bullying and sexual harassment from government sources, but rarely report it to police because they “take it for granted.”
– In an atmosphere of surveillance, intimidation and harassment, media outlets find it impossible to recruit new reporters. One training session for newcomers saw 30 people on the first day, 12 the second day and none the third.
– Business models threaten independence of Papua media, including in Timika, where ad revenues are sourced from Freeport mine, its subsidiaries and local government.
– Threats against independence include pressure from “certain parties” on mass media not to cover environmental issues.
– Isolation from other media due to a lack of access to communications resources causes ethical lapses.
Supported by WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, under its Strengthening Media and Society programme, the MFCI visit was also backed by the Denmark ministry of Foreign Affairs. PFF welcomes the input from WAN-IFRA, and praises the leadership role played by Denmark.
“Other diplomatic partners in Jakarta need to do much more to support press freedom,” says Miller.
“Their continued silence on abuses against the press and other human rights compares shamefully with billions in profit being made from Papua by outside interests.”
Findings from the MFCI visit join recent wide concern expressed about Indonesia blocking access to 800,000 websites. Among blocked sites is SuaraPapua – the Voice of Papua – a news outlet exposing human rights abuses.
Voice for the voiceless
PFF praises LBH Pers, the Legal Aid Institute for the Press, for representing SuaraPapua as a “voice for voiceless.” Last year, PFF laid down a deadline for open access to Papua, in the lead up to Indonesia hosting World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2017. The deadline was reportedly rejected by a minor official at the Indonesian embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.
Think Carefully
However, PFF has not been able to get confirmation of the alleged rejection from Jakarta.
“Instead of speeding up preparations for World Press Freedom Day, Jakarta appears to be slowing down”, says Miller.
“Make no mistake, Jakarta needs to think very, very carefully about its continued failure to fulfil its own promises, its own guarantees for media freedom under the Indonesian constitution, and its signature to many international treaties.”
Ahead of #WPFD2017, PFF is calling on journalists everywhere to focus attention on one of the world’s least reported areas.
“This year, global journalists must all prove themselves wantoks of the Papua press”, she says. Indonesia improved eight places between 2015 and 2016 on the RSF, Reporters Sans Frontiers World Press Freedom Index, at 130 of 180 countries, but is still coded red for a generally “bad” situation. (*)


COMMODITIES | Thu Feb 16, 2017 | 7:13am EST
3) Freeport Indonesia mine grinds to complete halt: union
By Fergus Jensen and Wilda Asmarini | JAKARTA
All work has stopped at Freeport-McMoRan Inc's giant copper mine in Indonesia and its workers are planning a demonstration against the government's move last month that halted exports of copper concentrate to boost domestic industries, a union said.
A prolonged stoppage at the world's second-biggest copper mine would support copper prices, near 21-month highs this week, but would also deny the Indonesian government desperately needed revenue from one of its biggest taxpayers.
Freeport had said the Grasberg mine would have to slash output by 60 percent to approximately 70 million pounds of metal per month if it did not get an export permit by mid-February, due to limited storage.
But a strike at Freeport's sole domestic offtaker of copper concentrate, PT Smelting, expected to last at least until March, has limited Freeport's output options, and Grasberg's storage sites are now full.
"Everything has stopped completely. It's just maintenance now," Freeport Indonesia worker union chief Virgo Solossa told Reuters on Thursday, stopping short of saying how many of an estimated 33,000 workers had been sent home.
Thousands of workers plan to stage a demonstration on Friday in Timika, Papua, the province where the mine is located, to demand the government makes "a wise decision" regarding their situation, Solossa said.
"If they aren't careful, this has and will impact (Freeport operations), both for workers as immediate beneficiaries and the broader community as recipients of benefits from Freeport's presence."
Solossa added further action would be considered following the demonstration on Friday.
When asked about the stoppage, Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama referred to the domestic smelter strike, and told Reuters that Grasberg's production was now being "managed to supply PT Smelting when their operations return to normal."
He noted Freeport did not have any plan to announce a force majeure yet. 
"We are continuing to cooperate (with the government) so that our exports of concentrate can return to normal,” Pratama said.

Freeport estimated in January that sales of copper from Grasberg would reach 1.3 billion pounds in 2017, up from 1.05 billion pounds in 2016, assuming operations were normal.
Coal and Minerals Director General Bambang Gatot declined to comment on the work stoppage and planned demonstration, but said the company had not applied for an export permit yet.
"Let's see what happens tomorrow," he said.
Indonesia introduced rules earlier this year requiring Freeport and some other miners to shift from their current 'contracts of work' to so-called 'special mining permits', before being allowed to resume exports of semi-processed ores and concentrates.
Phoenix, Arizona-based Freeport has said it will only agree to a new mining permit with the same fiscal and legal protection in its current contract.
The company has made direct contributions of more than $16 billion to Southeast Asia's biggest economy in taxes, royalties, dividends and other payments between 1992 and 2015, according to company data.
Copper was down 0.7 percent at $6,027 a tonne on Thursday, holding near a 21-month high of $6,204 touched on Monday.[MTL] 
(Editing by Joseph Radford and Mark Potter)

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