From the geological properties of West Papua, Mimika is, without a doubt, one of the greatest places to mine. The collision of the Pacific and Indo-Australian tectonic plates makes it happen to be a heaven of commodities like gold and copper.
The chalcopyrite is the mode of the data in The Dalam Diatreme of mineralization with average grades of 1,2 % copper and 0,5 g/t gold. While in Grasberg, the mine has produced a great quality of copper-gold mineralization. The average grades of 1,5 % copper and 2g/t gold make it greater than The Dalam Diatreme.
What Minerals are Mined in Mimika?
According to the Freeport website, the mine is one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world.
They are currently mining in the final phase of the Grossberg open pit and several projects with the long-lived underground mines. All of the underground mines are expected to produce large-scale copper and gold following the transition from the Grasberg open pit.
First Discovery in West Papua
The city, which maybe can be called the heaven of mining or commodity, was first discovered in 1936 by a young Deutch geologist named Jean Jacques Dozy.
He found Ertsberg, the expanse of the mountain in the interior, which is now located in Mimika Regency, Papua, which is only covered in grass, turns out to be a stretch of copper minerals along with other minerals such as gold and silver.
At that time, the young geologist thought that with the extremely harsh and difficult terrain, it was impossible to mine the ore deposits that were located there.
During that expedition also, Dozy took some rocks and sent them to the laboratory for analysis. The result and analysis of his exploration were published in the Geological Journal of Leiden in 1939. Sadly, because of the second world war, his discovery was not much recognized by the world.
Afterward, the expedition that ends up as one of the biggest mining field discoveries in the history of mankind by the young geologist is saved up in a journal in the Dutch Library and only recognized later by Forbes Wilson.
Jean Jacques Dozy’s discovery was later continued by Forbes Wilson, who was a sulfur exploration manager of Freeport.
Forbes Wilson, The Man who Admired Jean Jacques Dozy
Forbes Wilson got the information about Dozy’s exploration note from Jan Van Gruisen, an executive from East Borneo Company.
He is the first to continue the hunt for “treasure” from Dozy’s exploration note, while in the same year, Freeport lost nickel ore mining in Cuba because of the nationalization of the company under the leadership of Fidel Castro, the legendary president of Cuba.
Wilson was really amazed by Dozy’s founding and interested in exploring Ertsberg. “I will see Ertsberg for myself, and I will try it until I die,” said Wilson, who showed his commitment to exploring the legendary West Papua mining territory.
Freeport supported the exploration with an amount of 120.000 USD, which had the same value of one million dollars back in 1996.
Even though Wilson was 50 years old at that time, he was a dedicated person to reaching that goal. He even stopped smoking after 30 years and received vaccination for many diseases that were known to humans for the sake of expedition. He also trained himself to live in the forest and mountain, which is well-known for its cold temperature.
Exploration that was held by Wilson was accompanied by geologists, engineers, botanists, and even policemen. The inspired Freeport man made a special note regarding his exploration in a book named “The Conquest of Copper Mountain.”
Unlike Dozy, Wilson’s exploration successfully estimated valuable mineral reserves in Erstberg. It was estimated that there were 33 million tons of iron ore reserves with a copper content of 2,5 %.
Sadly, the investment certainty is very low because of Indonesia’s political turmoil in that era, such as the war over the territory of West Papua and the 1965 tragedy.
How about Now?
Mimika and freeport are like the two sides of the same coin. The existence of copper mineral reserves located at an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level managed by PT Freeport Indonesia has opened the isolation of the Mimika Area.
From 1992 to 2019, old century to the new century, The mining company has invested more than 1,73 billion USD in infrastructure and community development. Besides that, the company also contributes greatly to job opportunities and creation in Papua.
In 2016, the economic growth of Mimika experienced a significant increase compared to the previous year. In fact, it was doubled. Also, in the same year, the mining and quarrying business field achieved the highest economic growth compared to other business fields, which proves the superiority of the mining sector in the region.
In 2021, Mimika received 300 billion IDR from the net profit of PT Freeport Indonesia, which is regulated in Law Number 3 of 2020 concerning Mineral and Coal Mining which is an amendment to Law Number 4 of 2009.
Mimika, The Pride of West Papua
There is a huge history behind the mining in Mimika and why the region is considered the largest treasure or gold mine in the world.
West Papua should be proud because Mimika is one of the best cities in the world that is located there and also the largest goldfield in the world, which can be used to prosper the population.