Freeport’s AMDAL permit under scrutiny for excluding affected communities

LEMASA Director Menuel John Magal and LEMASA Deputy Director Mesakh Bukaleng during a discussion with Jubi at the LEMASA Office in Timika, Saturday (1/20/24), regarding PT FI's AMDAL. -Jubi/dam

Jayapura, Jubi – Menuel John Magal, the Director of the Amungme Indigenous Peoples Community Institution (LEMASA), has stated that in June 2023, they wrote a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Directorate General of Forestry and Environmental Planning, and the Directorate of Prevention of Environmental Impact from Business and Activities in Jakarta. This correspondence is related to the new Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL) permit process for underground mining and the tailing of PT Freeport Indonesia, which needs to be put on hold due to the lack of involvement of affected residents, especially in the three valleys of Tsinga, Waa, and Arwanop.

Magal, speaking from his office in Timika on Saturday (20/1/2024), mentioned that the ministry has responded to their letter since their request is for the Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL) to be temporarily suspended, citing the absence of representation from the affected communities.

He added that during the AMDAL study process conducted by Freeport, community representatives were not engaged. The AMDAL team from Freeport that visited Jakarta twice was randomly selected and invited by Freeport’s management, and Magal emphasized that this team did not fully represent the indigenous landowners in the concession area.

Magal stated that under his leadership, LEMASA had received a mandate from the communities in the three valleys of Nemangkawi, namely Waa, Tsinga, and Arwanop, to facilitate meetings between the landowners, the government, and Freeport.

Magal further mentioned that LEMASA has also submitted a request to facilitate a triangular meeting between the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Freeport management, and community representatives. Unfortunately, this request has not received a response, even though the Ministry of Forestry and Environment has acknowledged it.

He emphasized that in the extensive AMDAL document, there are narratives that demean the original residents of Timika or the owners of the gold mountain, and he insisted on a reevaluation of the AMDAL content. The agreement on what Freeport should do for the local community from 2024 to 2041 should be collectively agreed upon and included in the Freeport’s AMDAL document.

Katri Krisnati, the Vice President of Corporate Communications at PT Freeport Indonesia, did not provide a response regarding this matter as per LEMASA’s request when contacted by Jubi via WhatsApp.

Previously, during a gathering with journalists in Jayapura on December 20, 2023, Katri Krisnati refused to elaborate on AMDAL Freeport and only mentioned that Freeport is still using the AMDAL document issued by the Ministry of Environment in 1997.

Sources from Jakarta revealed that the technical team meeting on the AMDAL for underground mining and tailing of Freeport had taken place on Wednesday (17/1/2024), while the Freeport’s AMDAL commission meeting occurred two days later on Friday at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Jakarta. (*)

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