Report – By Sita W. Dewi and Hasyim Widhiarto in Jakarta and Tasikmalaya
Presidential candidates Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prabowo Subianto have dodged politically sensitive questions over the need to extend the contract of PT Freeport Indonesia in the West Papua region to mine the world’s largest gold deposit in Papua.
When asked on the campaign trail in Tasikmalaya, West Java, about his take on Freeport, Jokowi merely said that Freeport’s extension demand was not an issue that needed to be immediately resolved.
“Do you know what year it is now? I will have all the time in the world to take a stance on that,” said Jokowi.
Freeport, a local unit of US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., will see its contract expire in 2021.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s spokesman for economic affairs, Firmanzah, said the company’s demand for an extension would need to be considered by the next administration.
This is because the 2009 Mining Law and a 2010 government regulation stipulate that a proposal for the extension of a mining licence must be submitted at least two years before the previous contract’s expiration date, or in the case of Freeport in 2019.
While Prabowo refused to answer any questions about Freeport, his nephew and top Gerindra Party official Aryo Djojohadikusumo, on behalf of his uncle, said only that Prabowo’s administration would maximise the economic value of Freeport while operating in Indonesia.
“We want to create downstream industry, open as many jobs as possible and get our royalties paid in full. We also don’t want to see any transfer pricing to foreign countries. However, at the same time, we also want to respect our contracts and cooperation with our partners worldwide.”
Source: The Jakarta Post