Security a Concern as Freeport Miners Ready to Return to Jobs in Papua

Some 10,000 strikers were ready to take up their jobs on 17 December, but security reasons prevented an orderly return to work. PTFI, a subsidiary of US-based giant Freeport-McMoRan, suspended air lifts between Tamika and the Grasberg mines after a helicopter leaving Tembagapura early on 17 December was shot at.

It was carrying 29 people, including union-represented staff workers. The wife of one worker was injured by glass and shrapnel, before the Russian pilots of the charter service, five minutes into the flight, diverted the aircraft to Timika.

A union spokesman said it would be a week before workers started returning to the world’s largest gold mine and second largest copper mine.

Today’s talks in Timika between the emboldened union and PTFI will center on infrastructure issues, such as bus transportation, improvements in transport shelters, and assuring that the company’s personnel data management system is up to date and accurate.

These issues and overall security for PTFI staff and non-staff alike in returning to their jobs will be addressed.

Mile 28: Union Blockade Stymied Production

PTFI began operating one of five slurry lines between Grasberg and Timika over the weekend. The others are expected to be operational within a week. The slurry lines were vandalized in the early stages of the strike by indigenous people bunkering small amounts of gold and copper concentrate for sale on black markets.

In the month preceding last week’s strike settlement, PTFI began repairs on pipelines using helicopter lifts of men and materials. The company will be at full production early in the new year.

That was done to avert an iron-clad blockade between Timika and Grasberg by strikers and their families that proved to be union’s most effective leverage point.

The strike, which started on 15 September, was historic since it pitted a low-wage, well-organised, determined and enlightened unionised workforce against a leading global extraction company with a wide revenue stream, most notably from its leading money-maker, the rich Grasberg open-cast and underground mines of Indonesia.

(See ICEM news release on strike terms.)


Papuan Voices on Human Rights Day – SCREENING – MUSIC – CHAT – DANCE

Event details


December 10, 2011

07:30 AM to
10:00 AM


Neo Journalism Club, Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara, Jl. Antara No. 61, Pasar Baru , Jakarta, Indonesia

Contact Name

Contact Phone

+62 21-60255135

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Papuan Voices by Leo Moyuwend

The Papuan Voices project overcomes political, geographical and financial barriers – as well as lack of technology – to bring important Papuan stories to the world. In doing so, it shines light on the injustices that regularly occur behind the closed doors of this resource-rich and restive province.

Films to be screened on the December 10, 2011 event:

Surat Cinta Kepada Sang Prada: A moving missive from a Papuan woman to her long-lost lover – an Indonesian soldier who was once based in her village on the PNG-Indonesian border. Theirs was a controversial relationship but she begs him to return to meet their three-year-old daughter: “I will continue to wait for you, Samsul. I don’t care what people say.”

Mama Kasmira: A Papuan cocoa farmer from the Indonesia-PNG border region had to leave her farm to work for a palm plantation when the village elders made a deal with a Rajawali Group company to sell her land. Every day Kasmira works hard under the hot sun, clearing bushes for the plantation. However, she has great hopes for her three children.

Harapan Anak-Anak Cendrawasih: Primary school children in Arso on the Indonesia-PNG border are keen to study – but teachers rarely come to the local school. The one teacher who does come is only on a short-term contract and gets paid once every six months. When school is out, the kids end up doing hard labour for the local palm plantation to earn money and kill time.

Kelapa Berbuah Jerigen: The Malind tribe in Merauke is proud of its ecological traditions – each clan in the tribe is responsible for protecting a natural element. The Moiwend clan is responsible for the coconut trees and fruit. However, in recent times Malind youth have started using coconuts to make alcohol. The home-made drinks – which are much cheaper to buy than beer and spirits – have added to the town’s problems. Now, some Malind elders are calling for the reinstatement of customary laws that would punish those who make use of coconuts in this way in order to save their tradition and their community.

Awin Meke: Indigenous Papuan women traders struggle to sell their goods in modern Jayapura. In their first fight, the women won themselves a space to set up shop. However, local city administrators backed out of their promise to support them by opening a competing market, run by non-Papuans, which sells the same goods.

… and Ironic Survival: The story of sago, the clan that protects sago tress vs the mighty Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) project that plans to clear over a million hectares of forests.

Supported by Yayasan Pantau, Honai Study Club, and Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara.

More information about this event…

Featured Filmmaker

Featured Filmmaker: FX Making

Name: FX Making (Frengky)

Age: 30 years old

Location: Jayapura (Port Numbay)- Papua

Recent work or activity at this time:

Now, I work at Fransiskan SKPKC Papua, in the information and documentation section.


Video History:


Tell us why you are a filmmaker.

I enjoy every part of the video-making process: producing, writing scripts, shooting and editing.


How did you come to video as a medium? Why do you work with the moving image?

My friends and I used to organise street rallies to demand action on issues like human rights violations and social and environmental destruction. But I started to think this effort was no longer enough – there was something missing. That’s when I started to learn how to make video through training workshops organized by Franciscan SKPKC Papua and EngageMedia. I was especially interested in learning to produce advocacy videos that could bring changes to my society.

What are the main issues you address in your video work?

We’ve been involved in issues like injustice, the call for a referendum in Papua, community problems and human rights violations.

There are many problems in Papua right now. People here are convinced that only they can save this land. On 19 October this year several groups organised the Third Papuan People’s Congress and announced their demand (for independence) but the Indonesian Government crushed them in return.

Nowadays, the indigenous people of Papua are increasingly marginalised in their own place and losing their customary land. If this continues, the indigenous community will begin to disappear.  But stories like this rarely make it into the mainstream media. These are the stories I try to cover.

The problem in Papua is about more than just the Morning Star flag. People in Indonesia and the international community must know this. I strongly believe that through audio-visual documentation stories of people’s struggle can reach vast audiences. This is why I choose video activism in this struggle.


Why did you decide to focus specifically on Papua?

I frequently watch Papuan problems portrayed by private television stations, print media, both locally and nationally. All of these media outlets talk about Papua with the same perspective – there is never anything new. But most of their news doesn’t correspond with the reality on the ground. That’s what prompted me to make videos about Papuan issues.


Can you also tell us more about the Papuan Voices project?

Papuan Voices is a group of young video-makers who still hold hope for a better future for Papua. Most of us come from Papuan cities like Jayapura and Merauke. As a team we try to tell the truth about our problems here.

For a long time people from outside Papua have made videos about Papua, but now this land has its own voice. Although we make videos about Papuan issues we also collaborate with anyone who has a sincere desire to help Papuans and who wants to work with us to build a better future for Papua. We owe thanks to EngageMedia for sending people to train us in video making and online distribution strategies.


Tell us about your favourite piece of video you have made on the topic of social justice or environment.

It is the first of my videos, which was produced by my friends and I in our first Papuan Voices training. It’s a video about our betel-nut eating culture and it’s called “Saving the Pinang Culture”.


How do you think online distribution is changing the field of independent video production? How do you use online tools and how does the internet make it easier to work as a video maker?

If I have a good video, I want people to watch it. Why should I keep it to myself if it is useful for the public? If we’re talking about online video distribution and the use of the internet, we in Papua still deal with poor internet, and that is a major obstacle. But of course video distribution is not just about the internet. We can also achieve a lot by screening videos outdoors to a group of villagers.




If you know of any interesting filmmakers around Asia Pacific you’d like to see featured on, write to us today!