go to top
A Papuan protester with a poster of a map of Papua province during a demonstration outside the office of Freeport-McMoRan's Indonesian subsidiary, Jakarta, March 1, 2006 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Making Sense of Indonesia’s Backflips Over Its Mining Rules

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

Indonesia has one of the world’s greatest stores of natural resources, but it can sometimes be tricky getting them out of the ground. Over 20 percent of the world’s tin comes from this archipelagic nation. In West Papua province, the Grasberg mine contains the world’s largest store of gold and the world’s third-largest store of copper. Majority-owned and operated by American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, the mine is home to an estimated $100 billion in reserves. But at the moment, Freeport is exporting very little ore and has begun laying off its workforce at the mine amid a standoff with the Indonesian government over export rules.

On Feb. 20, Freeport announced that negotiations with the Indonesian government had broken down and it would shortly reduce mining operations at Grasberg by as much as 60 percent. It was also considering suing the Indonesian government for violating its contract of work. This is the latest in a decades-long drama between Indonesia and the mostly foreign companies it puts in charge of extracting and exporting its natural resources. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.