Re: P.S.: [RML] the cost of gold: Freeport

Christophe Mailliet (christophe.mailliet at
Fri, 30 Dec 2005 10:36:57 +0100

Hi all,

First, thanks to Tsuh Yang for pointing out the article. I would imagine that the NY Times would not publish this type of information without double-checking it many times. Several groups have criticized Freeport in the past for its desastrous environmental record - it appears Freeport is trying to better itself, however a lot of damage has been done already which cannot be repaired. I understand that Indonesia is one of the most corrupt countries and therefore not much should be expected from the government there. In fact, government officials at all levels are often the first to break environmental laws and human rights. The Indonesian military is engaged in Papua to suppress pro-independence groups and they are not renowned for their friendliness - remember East Timor? West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya) was annected by Indonesia in 1962 (I think) after a bogus "vote" where a couple of dozens elders were rounded up and "decided" that Irian Jaya should belong to Indonesia, after having
been a Dutch colony. This vote was actually never considered legitimate (by UN standards). But hey, who cares? The thing is that Papua has just too much oil, timber, gold, copper, you name it, for Indonesia ever accepting it to become independent - although culturally and historically, New Guinea has nothing to do with Indonesia.

Anyway, I have forwarded the link to a friend who lives in Timika and I am curious to see what he will say about it.

BTW Gerry Allen did publish a book on the freshwater fish of the Timika region ("Freeport-Town"), which was even partly (if not totally) financed by Freeport. He does not write much about the direct environmental effects, however between the lines, you can read that most fish disappear from the tailings deposition areas - except a couple of species like M. splendida rubrostriata, and a Craterocephalus (I believe nouhuysi) that can apparently handle the sediment load.

The region is home to M. goldiei, M. ogilbyi, M. spl. rubrostriata, Pseudomugil paskai, Ps. pellucidus, Ps. ivantsoffi, Ps. paludicola, Ps. paskai, and Ps. novaeguinae. There's a lot to be lost there.



r_m_l at schrieb am 30.12.05 05:01:48:

Neil D. Anderson wrote:

> P.S. There are some interesting things relating to this topic in
> Freeport PTs 2004 /Economic, Social and Environmental Report /found
> at (follow the links).
> It would be interesting to hear from fish collectors and biologists
> who have actually visited and these places. Are Freeports claims of
> environmentally sound mining and concern for wildlife (including
> fishes, it appears) correct, or is the company misrepresenting, or
> even worse, distorting the facts?
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Neil,

the only other person I know of who has visited the area around the
OTML/Freeport site is Gerry Allen, and I am not sure he is on this list
any more. From memory his was a Freeport-facilitated trip and he saw a
slightly different picture than Heiko. He may have written something for
Fishes of Sahul on it, but I can't find it in any I have here.

Best regards, Andrew

Andrew Boyd  andrew at
"You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time." Bob Marley, 1973.
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