Making Sense of Indonesia’s Backflips Over Its Mining Rules

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).
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).

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 […]

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