Papua: Tablasupa Nickel Mining’s Drilling Rig Burned, Three Imprisoned

From Hidup Biasa: On the morning of 8th February 2012, local people from kampung Tablasupa, near to the Papuan capital Jayapura, burned a drilling rig belonging to the mining company PT Tablasupa Nikel Mining. The action was connected to an ongoing conflict between local people and the company, which plans to mine nickel on 9629 hectares of land, and is currently carrying out exploration activities. Although the company has been given a permit by the local Jayapura Bupati’s office, the people of Tablasupa feel that their rights as the holders of customary rights over the land have not been respected.

Two weeks after the machine was burnt, on February 20th, police arrested three villagers. Saul Sorontouw, Lambertus Seibo and Kanisius Kromisian. They have been charged under article 170 of the Indonesian penal code, and are being held in Jayapura police headquarters. While in prison Saul Sorontouw has been ill with gout, which has caused swellings in his knees. On February 28th police demanded statements from another six villagers, but they were allowed to go home that evening.

The following statement was released by villagers of Tablasupa the day before the action:

Statement of opinion.
of the
Sorontou-Okoseray-Kiswaitou Ethnic Group

As holders of rights to customary lands on the area covered by PT Tablasupa Nickel Mining’s Mine Enterprise Permit (IUP), Mining Rights (KP) and the Bupati’s recommendation that allows exploration in Kampung Tablasupa, Jayapura Regency


Regarding the as yet unresolved problems around PT Tablasupa Nickel Mining commencing exploration activites on customary land belonging to the people of kampung Tablasupa, the Sorontou- Okoseray- Kiswaitou ethnic group wishes to make the following declaration:


“Reject PT Tablasupa Nickel Mining”

conducting exploration and mineral exploitation activities within the customary boundaries of the Sorontou- Okoseray- Kiswaitou ethnic group.


The reasons for our rejection of mining activities are as follows:
1. The whole territory of kampung Tablasupa is unsuitable for mining activities.
2. The impact of mining activities would also damage the environment of areas that fall within the territory of neighbouring villages.
3 To avoid mining activities causing conflict with the people and nearby villages. 
4. The effect of mining activities will damage and desecrate the environment, and industrial pollution from the mine will contribute to global warming and affect the sources of clean water from the Cyclop mountains.
5. No consensus has been reached through a musyawarah system that would represent an agreement between the people of Tablasupa and neighbouring villages.
6. The holders of customary rights to the land have not given their approval (under the Law on Mineral and Coal Mining 4/2009 article 135, companies holing a Mine Enterprise Permit can only commence activities if they have obtained agreement from the holders of customary rights on that land).
7. The customary and human rights of the Sorontou- Okoseray- Kiswaitou ethnic group must be respected and valued by all.

A solution to the development of kampung Tablasupa which supports the social economy and also contributes to local business could include:
-building beach tourism and hotels
-developing fishing
-selling fresh water.

Such development would involve all the people of Tablasupa either as workers or taking roles in a management structure and could take the form of an enterprise or foundation that was formed by the people of kampung Tablasupa.

This is the message that the Sorontou- Okoseray- Kiswaitou ethnic group wishes to be known by the general public. 

Tablasupa, 07 February 2012 .

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