Friday, February 24, 2017

1) Australia must work on a stronger relationship with Indonesia

A chance for people this weekend to get letter/opinion pieces/comments in the media around Jowiki’s visit.
Rally Sunday
Indonesian President Joko Widodo will be visiting Australia on the 26th of February 2017 
 West Papua supporters in Sydney will be marching to protest what Indonesia has been committing in West Papua , The Lombok Treaty, and also to raise awareness to the Australian people in Australia.  The march wll begin Sunday morning at channel seven Martin Place to coincide with channel seven's morning broadcast of Weekend Sunrise from 7am-10am then we will proceed to DFAT New South Wales State Office and then through the malls and onto Town Hall where we will disperse.  We hope to see all supporters there!  PS: Permit has been authorised by City Police for this march to take place. 

1)  Australia must work on a stronger relationship with Indonesia
2) Jokowi and Turnbull to focus on economic, strategic links

3) Police beef up security in Intan Jaya
4) Joko Widodo, Malcolm Turnbull mending fences
5) Indonesia’s huge Papua mine run by Freeport long a source of friction 

6) President Jokowi leaves for Australia


1)  Australia must work on a stronger relationship with Indonesia
In November 2015, President Joko Widodo invited me to join him on one of his famous blusukan – or impromptu visits – through a bustling garment market in Central Jakarta. As local traders and shoppers crowded about us, I felt the energy, enthusiasm and excitement of a country with a dynamic future.
Indonesia's potential represents a golden opportunity for Australia. As I said on the day, the prospects for our two countries to work together – to grow our economies – have never been better. This weekend, Lucy and I will host President Widodo and First Lady Iriana Widodo during their first state visit to Australia.

I look forward to picking up where we left off in the markets of Jakarta by discussing ways to grow our 21st-century partnership.
Indonesia is a nation of extraordinary significance to Australia. We share a commitment to values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Indonesia should be proud of its transformation over recent decades into a diverse and democratic nation, proving, as the President often says, that democracy, Islam and moderation are compatible.
And the co-operation between our two nations grows stronger by the day. This has helped to advance common interests across our region, from defence exercises to disaster relief and combating human trafficking and people smuggling. Our defence and security co-operation is built on the bedrock of the Lombok Treaty. We are absolutely committed to the treaty and resolutely support Indonesia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Our countries are also partners in the fight against terror. President Widodo's unqualified rejection of extremism is not only significant for the future of his country, it enhances regional security and the safety of Australians. As the democratically elected leader of the largest Muslim-majority nation on earth, President Widodo disproves the view held by some that Islam and democracy are incompatible.

Australia values the important role Indonesia has played, as a founding member of ASEAN, in bringing our region closer together. ASEAN is helping to build a rules-based order that promotes a common vision of peace and stability in our region.
Australia will host an ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March 2018. This will allow Australia to deepen our economic and strategic links with south-east Asia. It is critical that we continue to work with our nearest neighbours to shape the future of our region.

Our relationship with Indonesia is growing deeper by the day but it has not yet reached its full potential. For example, Australia trades more with Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand than with our much larger northern neighbour.
The opportunities for Australian businesses are immense. Consider the following: Indonesia makes up more than a third of ASEAN's gross domestic product. It is on track to be one of the seven largest economies in the world by 2030 and its consumer class is expected to grow to as many as 135 million people. Indonesia is also our No.1 holiday destination, with more than 1 million Aussies travelling to Bali alone last year.
The potential for Australia and Indonesia to expand our economic relationship is clear. That's why President Widodo and I want to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement later this year. This agreement will benefit Indonesians and Australians alike, promoting business and boosting investment ties.
We will also discuss the importance of working together on infrastructure development, and our mutual commitment to co-operating on agriculture and food security. We have already made progress on building a transparent and integrated supply chain in cattle and beef.
And we will emphasise our growing people-to-people ties, which underpin our ambitious economic and security agenda. While there is still much more to do, we should be proud that when Indonesians head overseas to study, more choose to come to Australia than anywhere else. For our part, Indonesia is already the most popular New Colombo Plan destination, with more than 3000 Australian undergraduates working and studying there between 2014-17. This deepens our understanding of each other's country and culture.
Australia is proud to stand alongside a united, democratic and increasingly prosperous Indonesia. I look forward to working with President Widodo in the months and years ahead to build an even closer bilateral relationship – a relationship anchored in our shared values, underpinned by mutual interests and delivering real benefits for our people.


2) Jokowi and Turnbull to focus on economic, strategic links
Jakarta | Fri, February 24, 2017 | 09:11 pm
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement on Friday that he looked forward to welcoming Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to Australia this weekend, saying the visit would highlight “Australia’s deepening economic and strategic links with Indonesia”.
Jokowi and First Lady Iriana are scheduled to spend the weekend in Australia to discuss several things with Turnbull. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry has said the visit will, among other issues, push the ongoing negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) that Jakarta expects to conclude this year.
Turnbull confirmed in his statement that the IA-CEPA would be included in the discussion.
“The bilateral relationship with Indonesia is vitally important to both countries and has never been stronger,” Turnbull said in the statement.
“As close friends and neighbors, Australia and Indonesia have a long, shared history. And as multicultural democracies, our countries have developed a strong 21st century partnership spanning broad areas of cooperation, including trade, tourism, counterterrorism, education and disaster relief,” the prime minister went on.
“I look forward to my talks with President Widodo and returning the warm hospitality I enjoyed during my visit to Jakarta in 2015,” Turnbull said.
Jokowi was slated to return the visit on Nov. 6-8 last year but because of the domestic political situation with a huge rally of Muslim protesters on Nov. 4, the palace decided to cancel the visit. (evi)

3) Police beef up security in Intan Jaya
Jayapura, Papua | Fri, February 24, 2017 | 10:27 pm
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura, Papua | Fri, February 24, 2017 | 10:27 pm
The Papua Police deployed additional personnel from its Mobile Brigade (Brimob) unit to Sugapa, the main town in Intan Jaya regency, on Friday to strengthen security following clashes between supporters of election candidates that left one person dead. 
“The 81 deployed officers are in addition to the current 400 personnel on duty there [in Sugapa],” Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said in Jayapura on Friday.
Besides sending the 81 Brimob officers the Papua Police also received backup of 200 personnel from the National Police headquarters, who will be sent to regions that are conducting plenary meetings on the regional elections results.
The extra backup followed a clash on Thursday during the plenary meeting of 2017 Intan Jaya regional election. The plenary decided not to consider the votes from eight polling stations from Wandai and Agisiga districts as the local officials were still completing the count and had not yet delivered the ballots to the Intan Jaya Regional Elections Commission (KPUD). The counting should have been completed before the KPUD started the plenary meeting on Feb. 22.
Several people objected and called for the plenary to be delayed.
“The arguments led to a clash that claimed the life of one man, Kolengan Wenda, 45,” Waterpauw added.
The clash continued the next day as eight houses of campaign workers of one candidate were set on fire on Friday morning.
The police are looking for one suspect who is reported to have incited the mob to start the blaze.
Four pairs of candidates ran in the Intan Jaya regional election during the simultaneous regional elections in 101 regions nationwide on Feb. 15. The pairs running for the regent post were Bartolomius Mirip - Deny Miagoni, Yulius Yapugau - Yunus Kalabetme, Natalis Tabuni - Yan Robert Kobogoyauw and Thobisa Zonggonauw - Hermanus Miagoni.
No precise information has been provided on which candidates’ supporters were involved in the clashes.
Intan Jaya was among 11 regencies and municipalities in Papua that held regional elections this year. Waterpauw said that apart from the incident in Intan Jaya, the local elections in Papua ran smoothly and safely. (rin)

4) Joko Widodo, Malcolm Turnbull mending fences
  • The Australian

AMANDA HODGE South East Asia correspondentJakarta 
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s first state visit to Australia had been scheduled to occur in the middle of a rare purple patch in relations with ­Indonesia, a neighbour whose friendship and trust we have long coveted even as we have taken the occasional peek over the fence. 
Instead the Indonesian President, who was forced to cancel his November trip amid trouble at home, arrives in Sydney this morning as both countries are dusting themselves off from yet another scrap.
That a relationship historically characterised by volatility should hit a road bump is not surprising, even if it was between the two defence forces whose ties are considered one of the great strengths of the broader partnership.
What is more noteworthy is the speed with which the nations have recovered and that even a recent part suspension of military ties, over allegedly offensive training materials at Perth’s Campbell barracks has proven no obstacle to an expansion of the relationship.
In an exclusive interview ahead of his two-day visit this weekend, Widodo tells Inquirer what Canberra has long been waiting to hear: that Indonesia is ready and prepared to conduct joint patrols with Australia through the contested waters of the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest and most valuable shipping lanes.
Widodo sees joint Australian-Indonesian patrols in the South China Sea, potentially around Indonesia’s Natuna Islands where its navy had several skirmishes last year with Chinese poachers, as “very important”, as long as they do not raise tensions in the region.
“If there is tension like last year, it is difficult to decide this program, but if there is no tension I think it’s very important to have the patrols together,” he says.
“We will discuss this with PM Turnbull.”
This is a significant step forward for the relationship, as it is for Indonesia, which has long resisted abandoning neutrality over regional maritime disputes even as it has faced its own issues with ­Beijing. China claims ownership of more than 90 per cent of the resource-rich waters and shipping lanes of the South China Sea, under its Nine-Dash Line map, which includes waters around Indonesia’s gas-rich ­Natuna Islands, but not the islands themselves.
Senior Indonesian government ministers were quick to wind back on Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu’s revelations late last year that he had discussed possible joint patrols with Australia’s foreign and defence ministers.
But things have changed since then. While China has long been working to lure Asian countries from Washington’s orbit and shift the regional balance of power in its favour, what is new is the more antagonistic rhetoric coming from the Trump administration.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a confirmation hearing last month the US would not allow China access to its artificial islands, and that its control and militarisation of those islands in waters claimed by neighbouring countries was “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea”. Former Australian defence chief Angus Houston warned this week against supporting any US-led blockade that could trigger open conflict, advising the best way forward would be for Australia to concentrate on building regional alliances.
Widodo would not be drawn on Tillerson’s comments but tells ­Inquirer he, too, sees diplomacy as the only way to resolve the ongoing territorial disputes, and that Indonesia will work through ASEAN to “pursue a code of conduct to govern the waters”.
“We understand it is in everyone’s interests for there to be peace and stability in our region. It is very, very important. And our countries should avoid increasing tension over the South China Sea, for whatever reason,” he says.
Australia conducts joint exercises in the South China Sea with India and the US, as well as regular maritime patrol surveillance flights out of Malaysia’s Butterworth air base with the Royal ­Malaysian Air Force.
But naval patrols with ­Indonesia would be a coup, enhancing our relationship with a country we see as a critical intermediary with southeast Asia.
Says John Blaxland, senior fellow at ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre: “We have to recognise that China has what it wants pretty much. There is no point fighting them over what they have now.
“The question is whether we put up a fuss about them going any further, and that is where we are keen to work with Indonesia. Because we just don’t know what’s around the corner. We don’t want the South China Sea to become a closed Chinese lake.”
Joint patrols would also handily refresh defence and security ties forged out of the carnage of the 2002 Bali bombs and 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, ties Blaxland says have since atrophied as Indonesia’s security forces, including Australian-trained counter-terrorism units, have come of age.
“We need to add strings to this relationship because the ones we have are frayed. The whole thing with (Indonesian defence chief) Gatot Nurmantyo suspending military ties was symptomatic of a relationship that is still too fragile.”
There is little consensus among Indonesia-watchers over Australia’s relative importance to Jakarta. Those who would paint Australia as a somewhat unrequited suitor say we are too small, both in military and in economic terms, to figure heavily in Indonesia’s foreign priorities.
Marcus ­Mietzner, an Indonesia expert at ANU’s College of Asia and the ­Pacific, says the key obstacle to a closer relationship is that Indonesia does not see Australia as a middle power to be reckoned with.
“Australia is not a big enough market for Indonesia to target as a primary export destination; doesn’t produce anything the country would be particularly interested in with the exception of cattle; and doesn’t have a big enough military to count as one of the significant players in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mietzner says.
“(Widodo’s) priorities are China, Japan, the US and Germany, which he views as places of technological innovation and economic power. Australia doesn’t register in this regard.”
Yet there is undeniable warmth between Widodo and Malcolm Turnbull, as the Indonesian President was at pains to emphasise this week, along with the recognition that the relationship has unrealised potential. Turnbull’s November 2015 visit is widely credited with having reset the relationship.
Amity between leaders is in contrast to the relationship under Tony Abbott, whose tenure coincided with revelations Australia spied on former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; the executions of Bali Nine leaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran; and Abbott’s asylum boat turn-back policy. Jakarta made no secret of its dislike for Australia’s hardline solution to the flow of asylum-seeker boats from Indonesia, but Turnbull has been a beneficiary of the policy, which has shifted a former key irritant in the relationship to a relative side issue.
The issue is unlikely to feature prominently in talks this weekend beyond Indonesia’s standing request that Australia accept some of the 14,000 refugees it now hosts.
But Widodo confirms he will raise that with Turnbull.
“You know, we understand each other,” he tells Inquirer of his relationship with Turnbull. “We come from the same background, business. I know PM Turnbull was a businessman before, and me also. We want to achieve concrete things with PM Turnbull.”
Both leaders see economic engagement as the linchpin of the relationship and aim to conclude the Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, a broad deal designed to remove barriers to trade and investment and to better integrate the region’s two largest economies to increase trade.
Australia will seek to shore up its $1 billion-a-year live cattle trade to Indonesia, under threat from Jakarta’s push for self-reliance through its own breeding program, and Widodo has listed trade, investment and tourism as key areas for stronger engagement.
But Turnbull may be disappointed if he has been counting on Indonesia backing Australia’s ­efforts to revive the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Widodo says Indonesia had intended to join the trade deal, but “now President Trump said he wants to scrap the TPP”.
In those changed circumstances, a bilateral trade deal with Australia must come first, “because we need to increase trade between Indonesia and Australia”.
“We must work harder to strengthen (that) because investment from Australia is still very low if we compare with the other countries.”
Indonesia is Australia’s 13th largest trading partner. Two-way annual trade of goods and services is valued at $15 billion and Australian direct investment in Indonesia was just $5.5bn in 2015-16.
Widodo wants more investment in infrastructure, mining, education and tourism. He has made the expansion of ­Indonesia’s tourist industry a key plank of his economic revival plan, alongside infrastructure, to ease reliance on raw commodities.
He wants Australia to help design and manage the expansion of Indonesia’s tourist infrastructure beyond Bali, which attracts a million Australians each year.
He says: “You must explore my country, like Raja Ampat (a chain of islands off the West Papuan coast); we have Labuan Bajo (gateway to ­Komodo); we have Borobudur (Buddhist temple in central Java); we have Toba Lake (Indonesia’s biggest) and Ambon, which is also close to Australia.”
A fault line in the relationship has been a lack of understanding of each other’s histories and cultures, as seen again last month when Gatot suspended military ties over materials used in an officer exchange language course.
The material was believed to have included a pejorative reference to Indonesia’s five founding principles, known as Pancasila, as well as an essay question asking students to discuss whether West Papua should be an independent state. For the ultranationalist Gatot, who has expressed suspicions that Australia uses the military exchange program to “recruit” its best officers, it was a flashing red line. There are still deep resentments within the Indonesian army in particular over Australia’s support for East Timorese independence.
Australia has since signed the 2006 Lombok Treaty, recognising Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua.
For a day or two at least it looked like last month’s spat was to have broader implications for the relationship. That it did not says much about the commitment on both sides to maintain ties, and a mutual ­acknowledgment that the two countries are too close not to get along, says Dave McRae, a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute.
“For a president who by all accounts has no special interest in Australia and has been accused of being too distant from broader issues of foreign policy, I think this visit underlines not that Australia necessarily has become a burning issue for Indonesia, but that there is a commitment to maintain constructive ties,’’ McRae says.
McRae says the emergence of Islamic State has injected “fresh impetus” into the relationship by underlining the importance to both countries of intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism co-operation. Both are grappling with how to deal with the recruitment and possible return of terrorist fighters from Islamic State battlefields in the Middle East.
That is undoubtedly true, says Yohanes Sulaiman, a former Indonesian government security adviser and now lecturer at Indonesia’s General Achmad Yani University. “But for Indonesia, the biggest problem is not foreign policy but domestic politics, which is why ­Jokowi decided to postpone his visit to Australia last November,” says Sulaiman.
And it is the same motivation behind the rescheduling of the ­Indonesian leader’s trip at the earliest window after the Jakarta elections. “He wants to reciprocate Malcolm Turnbull’s visit,” says ­Sulaiman. “But at the same time I think he really wants to show that he now has everything under control in Indonesia. Maybe you could call it a mini victory lap.”
Widodo’s November trip was postponed after mass protests by conservative Islamists and political opposition groups demanding the jailing for blasphemy of Jakarta’s incumbent governor, a key political ally, turned violent.
A subsequent prayer rally in December attracted an astonishing half-million people to the centre of Jakarta, where they prayed for Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama’s incarceration.
Ahok, the city’s first Christian, ethnic Chinese governor in half a century, now faces trial for blasphemy, even as he prepares to contest a second-round election after failing to secure an outright majority last week.
Ahok’s trial is said to have exposed not only the rising influence of conservative Islam in Indonesia but the weakness of its democratic institutions in the face of mob pressure. Widodo insists Indonesia will remain tolerant and pluralistic because — with more than 700 ethnicities and 1100 local languages — “it is in our DNA and nothing is going to change that”.
Whether the country should abolish its blasphemy laws, however, is for the Indonesian people to decide.
“I will ask my people,” he says when asked about the two laws. “I always go to the ground. I listen to my people. I ask them what they need, what they want.”


5) Indonesia’s huge Papua mine run by Freeport long a source of friction 

By Reuters PUBLISHED: 21:24 +11:00, 24 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:24 +11:00, 24 February 2017   

By Fergus Jensen
Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc warned this week it could take the Indonesian government to arbitration and seek damages over a contractual dispute that has halted operations at the world's second-biggest copper mine.
Freeport's Grasberg mine holds more gold and copper reserves than any other in the world, but has frequently been a source of controversy over the revenue share Indonesia and Papua get from the mine and the impact of its tailings on local water systems.
Here are some facts on the Grasberg mine in Papua: GRASBERG MINE Freeport-McMoRan began mining in Papua in 1967, the first company to sign for mineral resource rights under a foreign investment law put in place by former President Suharto. Open-pit copper and gold mining at Grasberg began in 1990.
Mining at the open pit, which is visible from space, is due to cease in late 2018, when underground mining will become the main source of copper ore.
An estimated 94 percent of the mine's remaining reserves are recoverable only underground. As of December 2015, Grasberg accounted for 28 percent of Freeport's total recoverable proven and probable copper reserves of 99.5 billion pounds.
In 2017, the mine is expected to account for 1.3 billion pounds of Freeport's global copper sales of 4.1 billion pounds. LABOUR AND SAFETY Freeport employs more than 32,000 in Indonesia, including 12,000 employees and 20,000 contractors. Around 97 percent of its workers are Indonesian nationals, many of them Papuan.

The mine area suffers regular earthquakes, and torrential rainfall can trigger landslides. Its position on top of a mountain also means workers can suffer altitude sickness, and visibility is often poor due to thick mists.
At least partly because of these factors, safety at the mine has been a longstanding source of friction with unions. A tunnel collapse that killed 28 workers in 2013 raised worries about Freeport's plans to ramp up its underground mining operation.
Workers also staged a strike for three months in 2011, seeking a bigger slice of the revenue from record copper prices. SECURITY AND TAXES Security at Grasberg has been volatile with pro-independence rebels in Papua waging a low-level conflict for decades. Analyst have also linked violence at or near the mine to conflicts between the police and military over security arrangements and related business ventures.
Between 2009 and 2015, shootings within the mine project area killed 20 and wounded 59. To protect workers and infrastructure, Freeport contributed $21 million toward government-provided security in 2015.
Freeport Indonesia is one of the largest taxpayers in Indonesia, with more than $16 billion paid to the government in royalties, taxes and dividends between 1992 and 2015.
The Freeport unit is currently in a dispute over $469 million in water taxes and penalties claimed by Papua province that date back to 2011.
The mine was at the centre of a scandal in 2015 after Indonesia's parliament speaker was accused of attempting to extort shares worth $1.8 billion from Freeport.
Setya Novanto denied the allegations but resigned amid the scandal in December 2015. He was reinstated in November last year after an investigation was dropped. ECONOMIC IMPACT Freeport-McMoRan and Rio Tinto - which is entitled to a share of Grasberg output via a joint venture signed in 1995 - have been targeted by campaign groups over alleged human rights and environmental issues at Grasberg.
Rio Tinto has said it is considering exiting its interest in the mine, which has yielded no benefit for it since 2014, when exports were suspended for six months while Freeport negotiated mining and tax rules with Indonesia.
On Sept. 9, 2008 one of Rio Tinto's major shareholders, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, sold its entire $850 million stake in the company citing environmental damage at Grasberg.
Freeport was excluded by the Norwegian fund in June 2006 for the same reason. Sources: Reuters,
(Reporting by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Tom Hogue)

6) President Jokowi leaves for Australia

3 hours ago
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his entourage left for Australia for a state visit from the Bali international airport on Friday. The visit will last until February 26.

Improving relations between Indonesia and Australia, both neighboring countries, will be the key agenda of the presidents February 25-26 visit, Bey Machmudin, chief of the Press Bureau, Media and Information Affairs at the Presidential Secretariat, said in his press statement here.

The president will visit Sydney, Australia, and will meet with Prime Minister Turnbull.

The President and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, along with the entourage, left from the I Gusti Ngurah Rai, Bali airport by the Presidential Aircraft Indonesia-1 at around 10.00 p.m. Central Indonesia Standard Time (WITA).

The entourage is expected to arrive at the Kingsford-Smith Sydney Airport on Saturday morning (February 25).

President Jokowi plans to discuss bilateral ties with Prime Minister Turnbull for mutual benefit and respect. 

As for economic issues, Jokowi and Turnbull will talk about the importance of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IACEPA).

Additionally, the two leaders will also discuss cooperation in investment, tourism and education sectors.

Regarding the presidents agenda, Bey Machmudin informed that on Saturday afternoon (Feb 25), the head of state will attend a meeting in Sydney with Australian entrepreneurs and will attend a Gala Dinner hosted by Prime Minister Turnbull at his private residence.

On the second day of the visit, the president will attend a bilateral meeting with PM Turnbull, and will also meet the Australian Governor General, Lady Cosgrove, before returning home in the afternoon.

During the visit, the president will be accompanied by Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung, head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Thomas Lembong, and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi who has been in Sydney since Friday, Feb 24.

(Reported by Hanni Sofia Soepardi/Uu.B003/INE/KR-BSR)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

1) Freeport Indonesian Workers Face Layoffs

2) Jokowi warns Freeport
3) Blue Abadi Fund raises US$ 23 million to sustain Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape
4) SOE Holding Ready to Take-in Freeport Shares

1) Freeport Indonesian Workers Face Layoffs
Friday, 24 February 2017 | 05:51 WIB

                    Workers are mining in the underground tunnels of PT Freeport Indonesia. (PT Freeport Indonesia)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Over 19 thousand workers of PT Freeport Indonesia and its affiliated contractor and privatized companies face the threat of losing their jobs if the US-based copper and gold mining firm halts its production and exports.
It was reported at least 20 expatriate workers have returned to their countries, and over 300 workers have been laid off as a result of the contract crisis between the government and PT Freeport Indonesia, which operates in Mimika District, Papua Province.
Mimika District head Eltinus Omaleng admitted that PT Preeport and a number of affiliated privatized/contractor companies had started to send their workers home, including expatriate workers from various countries.
"In a report of the Mimika Manpower Service, the number of employees who are already laid off has reached over 300 persons. Workers of PT Freeport were sent home. Those who are on leave are ordered not to return to Timika (district capital of Mimika), until the company's operations return to normal.
Every day about 30 to 500 workers are sent home; possibly now they would have reached over one thousand," Omaleng told Antara after receiving thousands of workers who held a rally in front of his office on Feb 17.
The Immigration Office of Tembagapura in Mimika said more than 20 expatriate employees who work with PT Freeport Indonesia's contractor companies had left Timika, Papua, for their countries.
Head of the Immigration Office Jesaja Samuel Enock said in Timika on Feb 19 that some of the expatriate workers were affected by the worker streamlining policy of their companies.
"Some of them have their work contract expired, but some others were affected directly by the crisis which befell PT Freeport. All of them are from the contractor and privatization companies of PT Freeport Indonesia," Enock stated. Expatriate workers who work with PT Freeport were mostly from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and the Philippines.
According to the Timika Express online media, there are over 32 thousand workers with PT Freeport Indonesia and other privatization/contractor companies. Some 60 percent of these workers or more than 19 thousand are facing layoffs.
The Manpower and Population Service (MPS) of Papua Province has therefore asked PT Freeport Indonesia to report its plan to lay off thousands of its workers. The Papua MPS Head, Yan Piet Rawar, said on Monday (Feb 20) that in a recent meeting, PT Freeport promised to report its plan to severe work relations with their workers.
"The Papua provincial government has not yet received a report that PT Freeport will lay off some of its workers," Rawar noted.
The Papua manpower chief official said the layoff process should be based on Law No. 13 Year of 2003 on Manpower and the law on the settlement of industrial relations dispute.
"Thus, PT Freeport Indonesia could not lay off its workers all of a sudden, because layoff can only be carried out with a clear reason, whether the company is losing or other reasons. But until now, we are yet to receive an official report from PT Freeport," he remarked.
If PT Freeport has reported its reason to carry out the layoff, the Papua Manpower Service will study the report. The plan to lay off the workers will have impact on the economic conditions of Papua in general and Mimika in particular. Therefore, Rawar hoped that PT Freeport would reconsider its plan carefully.
Papua Regional Police Chief Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw called on the managements of PT Freeport and a number of its contractors not to arbitrarily lay off their workers.
"It is admitted that it is the company's responsibility to take efficient measures, but it may not be arbitrarily in taking a decision (layoff). It should coordinate with the government well. It is feared to create various undesired perceptions if not done unilaterally," Paulus noted Waterpauw in Timika last Friday.
It was earlier reported that PT Freeport Indonesia had stopped its production activities with effect from Feb 10, this year, following the government's objective to have greater control on raw mineral resources. The government has proposed that the Special Mining Operations Permit (IUPK) should be used in place of the existing Contract of Work (CoW).
PT Freeport is reluctant to agree to the Indonesian government's proposal, especially since IUPK holders are obliged to divest up to 51 percent of the shares, which means they will no longer be in full control of the company. Furthermore, Freeport is planning to sue the government in the International Court of Arbitration.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ignasius Jonan had remarked on Feb 18 that PT Freeport's plan to bring up the dispute in the International Court of Arbitration is legitimate, adding that the arbitration measure is far better as compared to raising issues on dismissal of employees as a tool to apply pressure on the government.
"Global corporations always treat their employees as valuable assets rather than as mere tools to gain profits," Jonan remarked. Meanwhile, Freeport McMoRan Inc, the parent company of PT Freeport Indonesia, stated that the Indonesian government had stopped the CoW, signed in 1991, unilaterally and changed the status into an IUPK.
President and CEO of Freeport McMoRan Inc Richard C. Anderson stated at a press conference in Jakarta on Monday that his party cannot simply foregot the legal rights included in the CoW. Based on the company's records, Freeport had invested US$12 billion and is currently generating $15 billion and has absorbed 32 thousand Indonesian workers.
He further stated that the government had received 60 percent of the direct financial gains from Freeport's operations. Taxes, royalties, and dividends paid to the government since 1991 have reached $16.5 billion, while Freeport McMoRan had received $108 billion in dividends.

2) Jokowi warns Freeport

Anton Hermansyah, Viriya P. Singgih and Farida Susanty

Jakarta | Fri, February 24, 2017 | 06:46 am
As tension between the government and United States-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) continues, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has made his first comment on the matter, indicating that he would take firm action if necessary.
Freeport, Indonesia’s oldest foreign investor, has been in a deadlock over its future operations in Indonesia, as the government requires the company’s local subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia to convert a contract of work (CoW) signed in 1991 into a special mining license (IUPK) in return for an export permit extension.
Freeport Indonesia has repeatedly rejected the idea of contract conversion and stated that if the dispute was prolonged, it may take the case to international arbitration, a move that many deem would be costly for both parties.
“We want to reach a win-win solution, because this is a business matter,” Jokowi said on Thursday. “Now, I will leave this matter to the ministers. However, if [Freeport management] are really difficult to deal with, I will take action.”
On Feb. 17, Freeport Indonesia sent a notification letter to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry describing areas of dispute between the two parties.
The issues included the obligation for miners to divest a 51-percent stake within a decade of production, the government’s role in determining base selling prices for minerals, and the contract conversion requirement, all ruled under the new Government Regulation No. 1/2017.
Freeport Indonesia has stated it would be possible to commence international arbitration if no settlement was reached within 120 days of it sending the letter.
Article 21 of Freeport’s CoW states that the government and Freeport Indonesia can settle disputes by arbitration in accordance with the 1976 Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) if they cannot reach an amicable settlement within 120 days.
“One of the advantages of using arbitration over litigation is that the process is quicker, as a binding ruling can be determined within around three to six months. Nonetheless, the greater the complexity of the case, the longer it takes to conclude,” Hanafiah Ponggawa and Partners managing partner Constant Marino Ponggawa said.
He explained that the appointment of a presiding arbitrator could take months, as the arbitrators of both the petitioner and the defendant were often involved in a debate over the ideal person to act as presiding arbitrator. According to Marino, fees for an arbitrator could reach millions of US dollars, depending on the reputation of the appointed person.
He said the arbitral tribunal would typically choose a neutral country to host the hearings.
“Then, whatever the decision made by the end of the arbitration process, it has to be followed by the losing side,” Marino said. “Moreover, UNCITRAL is the legal body of the United Nations system. Hence, it can make international lobbies to ensure the compliance of its ruling.”
Earlier this week, Freeport chief executive Richard Adkerson said the company expected to find a win-win solution during the dispute settlement period as the Grasberg mine was too important for either party to neglect.
“It’s an important asset for the company. It’s an important, vital, natural resource for the Republic of Indonesia. […] But we have to find a way to work together, and Freeport is committed to trying to do that,” he said.
Under the CoW, Freeport Indonesia was initially required to sell 51 percent of its stake to Indonesian entities by 2011, or 45 percent if it had sold a minimum of 20 percent in the local stock market. Freeport owns 90.64 percent of Freeport Indonesia, while 9.36 percent is owned by the Indonesian government.
In response to the case, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government was undertaking “transitional negotiations” to tweak the management of the mining industry for the sake of investment and national interests, such as job creation, exports and state revenues.
“There will not be private, murky negotiations any longer. We just want to abide by the law and try to be better in explaining this situation to the investors.”
Since commencing operations more than five decades ago, Freeport is synonymous domestically with gold, not copper, and is usually perceived with suspicions. All affairs related to the company have always been political, with many Indonesian politicians and activists referring to it as a symbol of US economic imperialism in Indonesia.


3) Blue Abadi Fund raises US$ 23 million to sustain Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape

India Blooms News Service

Bali, Indonesia: Feb 24 (Just Earth News)– At the World Ocean Summit Friday, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and the Indonesian government announced US$23 million in support for the Blue Abadi Fund, which is on track to be the world’s largest marine conservation trust.

The Fund is uniquely designed to support local community stewardship of the protected areas of the world’s most biodiverse reefs, Indonesia’s Bird’s Head Seascape.
The announcement comes just five months after the Fund initiative was announced.  Once the Fund is fully capitalized, the Seascape will contain Indonesia’s first sustainably financed marine protected area network (MPAs).
Located in West Papua, the Bird's Head Seascape encompasses more than 2,500 islands and reefs and supports thousands of species -- including 70 that can be found nowhere else on Earth.
The Blue Abadi Fund will help secure the long-term financial sustainability of the Bird’s Head Seascape by providing grants to local communities and agencies so they can sustainably manage their marine resources into the future. 
The Fund is a powerful example of how local leadership combined with coordinated global support can deliver sustained conservation goals.  Founding supporters include: the  Walton Family Foundation, USAID, MacArthur Foundation, Global Environment Facility and others.

“These protected areas exist thanks to the support and involvement of local communities and fishermen,” said Rob Walton of the Walton Family Foundation, which has been working in the Bird’s Head region for more than a decade.
“Of course it is not enough to create marine protected areas, you have to have long-term management and enforcement. That is what the Blue Abadi fund is all about.”
The Bird’s Head Seascape coalition was launched in 2004 by Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund and now includes 30 conservation partners, including local and national governments, international and local NGOs, and academic institutions. Its mission is to ensure sustainable management of the Bird’s Head Seascape’s resources in a way that empowers local indigenous communities while enhancing their food security and livelihoods.
“The future of our planet depends upon the wisdom of communities,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “Through the Blue Abadi Fund the global community joins with local communities to secure the long-term health of the Bird's Head seascape, arguably the most diverse marine region of Planet Earth.”
Since the launch of the Coalition 12 years ago, the MPA Network in the Bird’s Head Seascape has grown include 3.6 million hectares of MPAs or approximately 20% of all MPAs in Indonesia.  Locally managed by communities and government, the MPA Network prioritizes biodiversity conservation and sustainable local fisheries. Working together, they have reduced overfishing by outside poachers by 90 percent while enjoying growth in sustainable fisheries, food security and tourism.

Overall, the Coalition effort has engaged 30 partner organizations — including Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund — and 70 donors, both local and global. The governments of Indonesia and the West Papua Province, along with local communities, have played fundamental roles in managing the MPA network and local fisheries.

The Bird’s Head Seascape Coalition will complete a full transfer of MPA management responsibilities to local communities and the government by June 2017, who will then co-manage them into the future. Local funding sources will provide 70 percent of the financing needed for the seascape, with the Indonesian government being the largest source of funding, and the Blue Abadi Fund providing the remaining 30 percent.
In a demonstration of their commitment to the MPA network and as a match to the Blue Abadi Fund, the West Papuan government has committed to provide a minimum of Rp. (US$555,000) per year to the management of the MPA network starting in 2018. Budget allocations from the National government as well as revenues generated from tourism user fees will also contribute to the MPA costs.
“As a conservation province, our natural resources are of strategic value and importance for West Papua. To ensure that we continue to benefit from conservation, we need to work together to ensure that our MPAs are sufficiently and sustainably funded,” said Drs. Nathaniel D. Mandacan, M.Si, the Secretary General of the West Papua Provincial Government.
Local communities and agencies will use the funds to implement comprehensive management plans for the 12 MPAs that support activities such as effective patrol systems, community outreach and development, and ecological and social monitoring so management activities can be adapted over time. Funds will also be available to Papuan civil society for innovative community conservation and fishing projects, and more.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY, 2017 | 10:30 WIB
4) SOE Holding Ready to Take-in Freeport Shares
TEMPO.COJakarta - The State-owned Enterprises (SOE) Ministry prepares to purchase some of Freeport Indonesia's divested shares. The shares will be taken by the holding company of mining SOEs.
The ministry's special staff and chief of the Freeport Divestment Team, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, said on Thursday that the the US miner will likely divest 10.64 percent of their shares.
Budi said the government's 9.36-percent stake in Freeport will also be allocated to the Mining SOEs Holding, which is led by Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum).
The members of the holding are Aneka Tambang or Antam, PT Timah, and Bukit Asam. The companies will be merged in the process.
Government Regulation No. 1/2017 requires Freeport Indonesia (IDX: FTPI) to divest 51 percent of its stake to the state. Energy and Mineral Resources Ignasius Jonan said the shares must first be offered to the central government.
Freeport has so far refused the obligatory divestment, saying that 51 percent is too much and said that their contract (KK) only mandates 30 percent.
There is no agreement share price either. Freeport wants to sell 10.64 percent stake for US$1.7 billion while the Energy Ministry claims that their calculations show a price of just US$630 million.
The ministry's director general for coal and mineral Gatot Ariyono said Freeport's offered price is too high as it includes copper reserves until 2041. Price offers, he said, should only take replacement costs into calculations.
The US-based miner has not agreed to change its contract to a special mining license (IUPK) either.
"We have already developed underground mines," Freeport spokesman Riza Pratama said last week.

1) Long-serving American Samoa congressman dies

2) Indonesia seeks to strengthen cooperation with Australia

3) Freeport`s threat evokes a sense of nationalism: Hikmahanto

4) How Freeport Finds Deadlock with Indonesian Government
5) Jokowi to raise joint patrols in South China Sea
6) Gov’t Offers Three Options over Dispute to Freeport  
7) Airlangga University Supports Freeport’s Nationalization  
8) Jokowi’s visit to Australia ‘special’: Foreign Ministry

Vale Eni Faleomavaega, a good support of West Papua
1) Long-serving American Samoa congressman dies
8:16 pm on 23 February 2017
Jamie Tahana, RNZI Journalist
Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, American Samoa's former long-serving representative to the United States Congress, has died in Utah, aged 73.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin died on Thursday in the US State of Utah. He was American Samoa's congressman from 1988-2015. Photo: AFP

His death was confirmed by his sister-in-law, Theresa Hunkin, who said he died peacefully at his home in Provo, surrounded by family and a few close friends.
Born in Vailoatai Village in American Samoa, Faleomavaega grew up in Hawaii, where he went on to study a Bachelor's degree in political science, before studying law on the United States mainland.
He then joined the United States Army, where he fought in the Vietnam War, eventually rising to the rank of captain. While in Vietnam, he said was exposed to the toxic defoliant, Agent Orange, which he claimed had contributed to health issues he experienced later in life.
After leaving the army in 1969, Faleomavaega served as the administrative assistant to American Samoa's delegate to Washington before returning to the islands of his birth in 1981, where he briefly became the territory's attorney-general before deciding to pursue a career in politics.
He was elected the territory's lieutenant governor in 1985, under the governorship of Aifili Paulo Lutali, before running for the territory's sole seat in Washington in 1988. Running on the Democratic Party ticket, he narrowly won that election against independent Lia Tufele with 51 percent of the vote.
But once he reached Washington, he became an established leader who went on to grow his support and hold the seat until his ouster by Aumua Amata in 2014.
RNZ International's correspondent in American Samoa's capital Pago Pago, Fili Sagapolutele, said that with 26 years in congress, Faleomavaega was a hugely popular leader, who won elections with large majorities.
"He was a strong leader," she said. "Not just as a political leader, but with the Fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way) because he holds that chiefly title, and despite the fact that he's in Washington most of the time he still was able to speak that Samoan language in fluently addressing in the cultural way and speak from one traditional leader to another. He had a lot of respect."
American Samoa is the only territory of the United States where its people are considered residents, not citizens. But, like other territories, American Samoans are also unable to vote for president and its sole representative in Congress is unable to vote on legislation.
That limited his efficiency and ability to get things done in Congress, but Ms Sagapolutele said that only made him more committed to the fight. In his 26 years in Washington, Faleomavaega served as a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on Natural Resources, which have jurisdiction over the US territories.
In terms of legislation, Faleomavaega successfully pushed for more funding for the territory - particularly for roads, schools and other infrastructure - and opposed deals that would have threatened American Samoa's tuna industry.
He also fought, unsuccessfully, for greater rights for American Samoa. In Congress, he proposed legislation that would have allowed residents of territories to vote in presidential elections if they were active members of the military, and, towards the end of his tenure, for the people of American Samoa to consider a push towards greater autonomy, if not independence from the United States.
Faleomavaega also became somewhat of a representative for the other countries of the Pacific in Washington, Ms Sagapolutele said. During his tenure he spoke on issues such as climate change, the West Papua independence movement, and other issues affecting the region.
"One big example was in 1996 when he boycotted an address by the French president at the time before Congress due to French nuclear testing in the South Pacific," she said.
However, as health problems began to present themselves in the early 2010s, Faleomavaega's popularity began to wane. In 2014, he was ousted by the current congresswoman Aumua Amata. In an interview with KHJ News at the time, he said his loss had come as a surprise, and that despite the result, he had no intention to retire from politics.
At his farewell speech in Washington, he said he never expected the people of American Samoa to support him for so long: "I go forward ... knowing that the best is yet to come and hoping I will be remembered for trying my best. For the times I fell short I ask for forgiveness. And to each of my colleagues, and to you, Mr Speaker, I extend my kindest and highest regard."
Ms Sagapolutele said Faleomavaega's health had been a concern in recent years, with a couple of high profile medical evacuations to Hawaii which he had attributed to Agent Orange poisoning. She said that despite promising to stay involved in politics, he had been relatively low profile since 2015, apparently writing a book.
Ms Sagapolutele said funeral arrangements were yet to be announced, including whether Faleomavaega's body would be returned to American Samoa for burial. The territory's governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, and Ms Aumata were expected to release statements in the coming day.
Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is survived by his wife, Hinanui, five children, and 10 grandchildren.


2) Indonesia seeks to strengthen cooperation with Australia

4 hours ago | 535 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is seeking to enhance its cooperation with Australia during President Joko Widodos state visit to the neighboring country on Feb 25-26 over the weekend.

"This will be an important visit, as it is a visit to a close neighbor," spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arrmanatha Nasir noted during a press briefing here on Thursday.

President Widodo is scheduled to have a state dinner with Prime Minister Malcom Turbull accompanied by their spouses during the visit to Australia, Nasir stated.

President Widodo will discuss several issues and areas of cooperation, such as the acceleration of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and the expansion of cooperation in the education, tourism, cybersecurity, maritime, and investment sectors.

Moreover, Indonesia will promote its sustainable products, such as timber, palm oil, and pulp and paper, in the Australian market.

In terms of people-to-people cooperation, Indonesia will inaugurate three Indonesian language centers in Canberra, Perth, and Melbourne.

President Widodo will also meet Australian businessmen and enterprises as well as Indonesian citizens residing in Australia, Nasir revealed.

The suspended military cooperation between the two countries is also expected to continue. 

"It depends on the investigation result delivered to the TNI," Nasir noted.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi is scheduled to accompany the president along with several high-ranking Indonesian officials.

President Widodo had earlier postponed his plan to visit Australia in November after a protest in Jakarta turned violent.

The volatile situation on the domestic front had required the president to stay in Indonesia.(*)


3) Freeport`s threat evokes a sense of nationalism: Hikmahanto

4 hours ago | 405 Views
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Freeports threat to bring its legal dispute with the government to the International Court of Arbitration will evoke a sense of nationalism, an international law professor of the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana stated.

"The legal measure planned by Freeport against the Indonesian government will have a boomerang effect on the company. The public will support the government of Indonesia," Juwana noted here on Thursday.

Juwana remarked that Indonesian society would recall its history lesson on the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The VOC was able to conquer kingdoms in the archipelago. 

"Freeport will be perceived equally by the Indonesian public as a VOC in the digital age. Freeport cannot use threat to lay off employees as a tool to apply pressure on the government. The company also cannot toy with Papuas issues," he affirmed.

Juwana pointed out that the government of Indonesia has offered a way out for Freeport by issuing Government Regulation No. 1 of 2017 on the fourth amendment to Government Regulation No. 23 of 2010 on the implementation of coal and mineral mining business activities.

"The government does not violate the working contract (KK). In fact, Freeport ignores article 170 of Law Number 4 of 2009 on coal and mineral mining," Juwana noted.

State Regulation No. 4 of 2009 changes the status of KK into a special mining business permit.

The Indonesian government headed by President Joko Widodo, who has a business background, will prioritize Indonesias interests.

"Freeport cannot use its government to apply pressure, as its position is not very strong. Other coal and mineral mining companies, who hold working contracts, abide by the regulations that have been applied," Juwana emphasized.

Member of the House Representatives Commission VII Adian Napitupulu had earlier called on coal and mineral mining companies to abide by the regulations that have been applied, including large corporations, such as Freeport.

The governments courage and consistency in enforcing Regulation No. 4 of 2009 that includes divesting 51 percent shares, changing the KK status, increasing the use of domestic products in production processes, developing smelters, and taxation and negotiation access with investors is still within a mutually beneficial framework, Napitupulu added.

The regulation will demonstrate the governments control over Indonesias natural resources and the country, Napitupulu stated.

Indonesia is not against foreign investors, but much like other nations in the world, the country should also get a fair share, Napitupulu remarked.

"If Freeport refuses to accept the governments guidelines and wants to merely continue operating with special benefits that the company has enjoyed in Indonesia for 48 years, then it is reasonable for the government to take a firm stance," he added.(*)

4) How Freeport Finds Deadlock with Indonesian Government
Thursday, 23 February 2017 | 09:36 WIB
JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The Indonesian government has given PT Freeport a chance to carry out concentrate exports for one year, although it is still negotiating the continuation of the US-based company's license to operate in Indonesia.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) has issued a recommendation for PT Freeport to export raw minerals for a period of one year. However, according to the Ministry of Trade, PT Freeport has yet to submit application for the export agreement letter (SPE).
Based on the recommendation, Freeport is allowed to export 1,113,105 wet metric tons of copper concentrates. The permit allows it to carry out exports from Feb 17, 2017 to Feb 16, 2018. According to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, the reluctance of Freeport to carry out the export of copper concentrates when it is offered an option could have negative impact on its performance in the long run.
"Freeport is a public company; if it stops (exports), its stocks will fall. So, in this case, no party will lose or win," Mulyani stated in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The Indonesian government is still continuing its negotiation process with Freeport to seek the best solution for the national economy and for the continuation of Freeport's investment in Indonesia.
"We can mutually look at facts contained in the Work of Contract (WoC) and those in the mining law. Since it is difficult to agree to it, the best option indeed is to safeguard our common interest," Mulyani added.
PT Freeport Indonesia's parent company Freeport McMoRan Inc, said it would continue to operate in the country despite disagreement on its contract status with the government of Indonesia. "We are committed to staying in Indonesia. This is an important resources for Freeport, also an important object for the government of Indonesia and Papua," says President and CEO of Freeport McMoRan Inc Richard C. Adkerson in Jakarta on Monday.
PT Freeport Indonesia has large copper and gold mines in the country's easternmost regions of Papua, but now , the company has stopped operation as it is not allowed to continue export its copper concentrate over contract disagreement.
In 2009, the government had taken a decision to ban the export of raw minerals and made it mandatory for mining companies to build smelters. It decided to ban the export of unprocessed mineral ores as of January 2014 in a bid to encourage miners to process ore domestically. However, after protest from the industry, the implementation of the ban was pushed back to January 11, 2017, to give an opportunity to mining companies to build smelters.
Recently, the government issued Government Regulation (PP) No. 1 of 2017 necessitates mining companies to change their contract of work (CoW) status to a special mining business license (IUPK), if they want to continue exporting concentrates. But they are given a five year deadline to build smelters.
Freeport has called for applying old regulations that were used when it was operating under a CoW status. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignatius Jonan however noted that if it changes the status into an IUPK, several provisions (of the CoW) will also be altered.
"If (the status of a company) is changed into an IUPK, it will have many provisions. Let the finance minister review which old regulations can be used as this falls under the domain of the tax law similar to the regional government laws, levies, and others," Minister Ignatius Jonan remarked.
It was previously reported that Freeport claimed it had not yet reached a common ground with the government on the change of status from CoW to an IUPK. "We are awaiting a temporary IUPK to carry out exports (of raw minerals), but the government has not yet issued a permit to us," Freeport spokesman Riza Pratama stated after a hearing with the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Feb 9.
According to CEO of Freeport McMoRan Inc Richard C. Adkerson, the U.S. mining giant had invested US$12 billion and is investing US$15 billion in Indonesia providing jobs for 32,000 Indonesians.
The government of Indonesia also had earned 60 percent of financial benefit directly as a result of the operation of Freeport. Taxes, royalty and dividends paid to the government since 1991 have exceeded US$16.5 billion and Freeport McMoRan had received US$108 billion in dividend, he added. "The taxes, royalty and dividend to be paid to the government in the future until 2041 is estimated to exceed US$40 billion." 
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) said that Freeport contributed to more than 90 percent of the regional gross domestic product (GDP) of Mimika District and about 37 percent of Papua Province's GDP. Therefore, Deputy Chairman of Kadin for eastern Indonesia affairs Andi Rukman Karumpa asked to manage the Freeport issues well, so that it would not become counterproductive.
"The issue of PT Freeport should be properly managed, in a measured manner, and with a clear target," Karumpa said in Jakarta on Wednesday. According to him, the turmoil between countries and some major corporations such as Freeport is a common one, such as the dispute between Aramco and the Saudi Arabian government in the past.
As a result, Aramco fell into the hands of the Saudi government, he stated. "Contract dispute with multinational companies is common, but there should be measurable goals. The volatility is managed, so that it can be more productive in the long run or short term."
He remarked that Kadin supports the government's firmness against PT Freeport, because the enterprise is considered to have continued stalling its obligation to build smelters in the country.
Freeport also left the impression that it always tried to dictate its will on the government. "It (Freeport) met 'stubborn' Minister Jonan who does not want to be dictated." However, Karumpa reminded that this issue would be managed well, because it affects the economy in Papua as well.

5) Jokowi to raise joint patrols in South China Sea
  • The Australian

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has opened the door to joint Indonesian-Australian patrols of the South China Sea, telling The Australian in an exclusive interview ahead of his first state visit tomorrow that he will discuss the issue with Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Joko also hinted that a part suspension of military ties, impose­d last month by his defence­ chief, would be lifted following the annual leaders’ talks.
And he moved to reassure Australians that Indonesia’s toler­ant, pluralist traditions were etched “in our DNA”, notwithstanding a polarising Jakarta election fought along race and religio­us lines and the concurrent trial of the city’s ethnic Chinese, Christian governor on what many see as political-motivated blasphemy charges.
The Indonesian leader known popularly as Jokowi said he saw joint Australian-Indonesian patrol­s in the South China Sea, potentially around Indonesia’s own Natuna Islands at the southern edge of the waters, as “very important” — as long as they did not raise tensions in the region.
“It depends. If there is tension like last year it’s difficult to decide this program,” he said.
“But if there is no tension I think it’s very important to have the patrols together. We will discuss this with PM Turnbull.”
Indonesian naval vessels clashed at least three times with Chinese poachers fishing in the resource-rich waters around its Natuna Islands last year. While Beijing makes no claims over the Natuna Islands it does insist the waters surrounding them are part of historical Chinese fishing grounds, as marked in its “nine-dash line’’ map, which claims about 90 per cent of the South China Sea.
An agreement between Australia and Indonesia to conduct joint patrols through the disputed waters of one of the world’s busiest and most valuable shipping lanes — one critical to Australian trade — would be a huge coup for the federal government, which has been lobbying Jakarta over the issue as it seeks closer defence co-operation with Indonesia.
It would also be emphatic evidence that defence relations between­ the two neighbours sustained­ no permanent damage from last month’s defence stoush.
Indonesia’s ultra-nationalist military chief Gatot Nurmantyo suspended a language training course over concerns at teaching materials, said to have included an essay question asking students to discuss whether West Papua should be an independent state.
The incident tapped deep-seated resentment within some quarters of the Indonesian milit­ary at Australia’s support for East Timor’s independence, and linger­ing fears it might one day also support a long-running liberation movement in West Papua.
General Gatot accepted a personal apology this month from Australian Army chief Angus Campbell but has not yet lifted the suspension. Mr Jokowi said the issue underlined Australia and Indonesia’s ability to work through their differences. Asked if the suspension would be lifted before his visit tomorrow he replied; “I think after I discuss (it) with PM Turnbull …. I believe that we can build mutual trust and understanding.”
He repeatedly emphasised his warm friendship with Mr Turnbull, whose November 2015 visit to Jakarta is seen to have reset a relationship battered by successive knocks over the executions earlier that year of Bali Nine leaders Andre­w Chan and Myuran Sukamaran, Tony Abbott’s 2014 boat turn-back policy, and the 2013 WikiLeaks revelations that Australia spied on former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and senior ministers.
“You know, we understand each other. We come from the same background, business,” Mr Jokowi said of Mr Turnbull.
“We want to achieve concrete things with PM Turnbull; not only trade, but trade, investment and tourism. We must work harder to strengthen (the economic relationship) because investment from Australia is still very low if we compare with the other countries.”
Indonesia currently lags as Australia’s 13th-largest trading partner, with Australian direct investm­ent in Indonesia of just $5.5 billion in 2015-16.
Improving trade and investment would help the relationship, Mr Jokowi said.
He added that he was confident the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement could be concluded by December. But he was lukewarm on Australian attempts to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership multi-lateral trade deal after US President Donald Trump scrapped it.
This weekend’s trip will be a truncated version of the previous schedule. He will meet with Mr Turnbull and senior ministers, business leaders and Indonesian students, and have lunch with the Governor-General on Sunday before flying home.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said yesterday it would be a “special­” visit, marked with a priv­ate dinner at Mr Turnbull’s Point Piper mansion.
“The visit will be special. Unlike other state visits, the President has been invited by Prime Minister Turnbull for a private dinner at his residence. So there will only be the President, the first lady, the Prime Minister and his spouse. This shows how close the two leaders are,” Mr Nasir said.

THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2017 | 22:50 WIB
6) Gov’t Offers Three Options over Dispute to Freeport  

TEMPO.COSurabaya - The central government has not yet reached an agreement with PT Freeport following the issuance of a new bill. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan offered three options to the US-based mining company.
"We gave [Freeport] six months for negotiations," Jonan said after giving a public lecture at Airlangga University in Surabaya on Thursday, February 23, 2017.
The first option is to urge Freeport to comply with existing regulations while sitting in negotiations on investment stability. The second option is to amend the Law on Mineral and Coal. The last one is to settle the dispute in an international arbitration.
However, Freeport refused the options, as they viewed that the shift from the contract of works (KK) to special mining license (IUPK) would threaten their business sustainability. Freeport planned to file a lawsuit against the government with arbitration if the solution to the dispute remains deadlocked.
In response to the threat, Jonan insisted on the three options.
"There were three options at that time. If they don’t like them, they are welcomed to discuss them with the parliament or us to discuss an amendment to the Law on Mineral and Coal. Or, they can take it to arbitration," Jonan said.
Jonan added that the government is ready to face the lawsuit.
"We're not only ready, but we can also take this case to arbitration," Jonan added.
Jonan asserted that the shift from the contract of works to the special mining license is not an obligation. Contract holders are allowed to maintain their contracts provided that they comply with Law No. 4/2009 on mineral and coal mining.
"We don't force [miners to shift to the IUPK]. For instance, PT Vale remains a contract of works holder, but they follow the rules," Jonan explained.
Contract holders are required to build smelters within five years as mandated in Article 170 of the Law on Mineral and Coal.
"It's already been three years. If there's still time, [miners] must immediately shift from contract of works to special mining license,” Jonan said. ARTIKA RACHMI FARMITA

THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2017 | 22:42 WIB
7) Airlangga University Supports Freeport’s Nationalization  

TEMPO.COSurabaya - Hundreds of students of graduate and doctorate programs at the Airlangga University in Surabaya declared their supports for the government in addressing the issue with PT Freeport Indonesia.
The declaration of supports was set forth on a banner signed by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan on the sidelines of a public lecture held at the university on Thursday, February 23, 2017.
The white banner contains a red colored writing that says, "Freeport, land and water in Indonesia shall be used for the greatest benefit of the Indonesian people, not for foreign countries!"
"There's nothing wrong with the declaration. It's set forth in Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution," Jonan said in response to a question related to the declaration. 
Jonan added that there is no law that is not based on the 1945 Constitution. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, Jonan added, welcomes investment from foreign and domestic investors.
Jonan revealed that the central government expects the economy to grow, because it would be impossible to depend on the State Budget without private sector’s participation.
Airlangga University rector Mohammad Nasih said that the university supports the government and Jonan in addressing the dispute with Freeport.
"In accordance with Article 33 paragraph 3 of the 1945 Constitution, natural resources, including mineral and coal shall be under the powers of the state and shall be used to the greatest benefit of the people," Nasih reiterated.

8) Jokowi's visit to Australia 'special': Foreign Ministry
Liza Sani The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Thu, February 23, 2017 | 10:39 pm
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is set for his first state visit to Australia on Feb. 25 to 26, with an emphasis on strengthening trade and maritime cooperation.
The neighboring countries aim to strengthen bilateral relations that are "mutually beneficial and respectful", the Indonesian Foreign Ministry says. 
Ministry spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir told a press briefing on Thursday that Jokowi's visit was "special", saying that unlike usual state visits, the two heads of states were set to have a private dinner. Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and wife Lucy Turnbull would host a dinner for Jokowi and First Lady Iriana Widodo.
"This shows a closeness between the two leaders," Arrmanatha said. 
The visit is set to focus on boosting economic relations between the two countries, especially to push the ongoing negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) that Jakarta expects to conclude this year. 
Indonesia also aimed to expand market access on sustainable products, Arrmanatha said, noting the example of export of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)-licensed timber, which guaranteed that the timber had been harvested, processed and exported in accordance with national laws.
Three memorandum of understandings (MoUs) were also currently in the final stages of discussion, namely in maritime cooperation, maritime security and the creative industry, he added.  
Other areas of focus between the two countries would include cyber security training, investment, tourism, as well as Indonesian language education. The President is set to inaugurate a language center during his visit. (evi)