So far, they were not involved in the negotiations of memorandum of understanding or contracts."
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - PT Freeport Indonesia should involve the local tribal communities in negotiating its contract with the government in order to reap direct benefits, stated Priest John Jongga.

"Freeport must think of how to empower and accelerate the development of the backward tribal communities by involving them in the work contract negotiation," Priest John, a recipient of the Yap Thiam Hien Award 2009, telephonically informed ANTARA News here on Thursday.

He remarked that Freeport must be ready to share the manifold benefits that it reaps from mining operations every year with the local communities.

"Companies in Papua such as Freeport in Timika, BP in Bintuni, or other firms in Papua should not only be controlled but also provide roles for holders of the local tribal community rights. So far, they were not involved in the negotiations of memorandum of understanding or contracts," John said.

John, who is also the chairman of the Yayasan Teratai Hati Foundation, stated that Freeport operates in areas that fall under the rights of the tribal communities through contracts, which are inked without any participation of the tribal communities.

"Now, there must be a change. Owners of land, which have gold deposits, must be given priority and must be the joint capital owners of the company. It should involve tribal communities. The local tribes who are the owners of the community rights must become capital owners along with Moffets or whoever are the shareholders of Freeport," he emphasized.

Freeport should also develop smelters in Papua that can provide jobs for thousands of locals and contribute regional original income (PAD) to the provincial government of Papua.

"Freeport should immediately build smelters in Papua and open a main branch office here. It should provide education for the children of the tribal communities. Several tribal communities in Mimika such as the Amugme and Kamoro should serve as working partners of Freeport," the Priest suggested.

He urged President-elect Joko Widodo and Vice President-elect Jusuf Kalla to work towards achieving these goals and to keep the promises they had made through media publications regarding their policies in Papua.

"Pak (Mr) Joko Widodo and Pak Jusuf Kalla must build the Pasar Mama Market in Papua and keep their promises to develop Wamena," John Jongga concluded.

PT Freeport Indonesia has recently agreed to the points for the renegotiation of its mining contract in order to abide by Law Number 4 of 2009 on Mineral and Coal Mining.

"We have heard from our renegotiation team that Freeport has agreed to contract renegotiation in connection with the implementation of the law on coal and mineral mining," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Chairul Tanjung remarked after a coordination meeting early this month on July 7.

Chairul emphasized that he will report PT Freeports agreement to the president in a cabinet meeting later, and it will be immediately incorporated into a memorandum of understanding.

"All points in the mining law and government regulations have been agreed by Freeport. We hailed what the team had done and hope that it can be completed with the signing of the agreement and approved in the cabinet meeting," he added.

The six points in the contract renegotiation cover width of working areas, contract extension, royalty, domestic smelting and processing, share divestment, and use of local workers and goods as well as domestic mining services.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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