West Papua Diary

Balancing The Growth of The Mining Industry in West Papua

Development of Mining Industry in West Papua

Undeniably, the development of the mining industry in West Papua has brought many benefits in several sectors. However, on the other hand, the mining industry in West Papua also has a more or less negative impact.

Developments in West Papua Mining Help The Economic Growth

West Papua has abundant natural resource potential, including in the mining industry sector.  Currently, several mining industries in West Papua, including the gold mining in Papua by Freeport, continue to grow.

Undeniably, the development of the mining industry in West Papua has had a number of positive effects on several sectors, including economic growth.

In November 2022, the Head of the General Section of West Papua BPS, Johannis Lekatompessy, said that Papua’s economy was experiencing growth. Johannis Lekatompessy has three main pillars that help this economic growth, one of which is the mining industry.

According to West Papua Economic Growth data for the third quarter of 2022, West Papua’s economy has grown by 2.84% from 2018. In detail, the mining industry in West Papua contributed 18.49% to West Papua’s economic growth. [1]

It has been a long time since mining conditions in Papua have affected the overall economic situation in Papua. The development of the mining industry will help economic growth, and a decline in the mining industry will have an impact on economic decline.

As was the case in 2021, the decline in production in the mining industry has caused Papua’s economic growth to plummet. At that time, economic growth in Papua decreased by 1.95%. [2]

Balancing The Mining Industry’s Potential with Its Negative Impact

Given that the development of the mining industry in West Papua has had a good impact, it also needs to be understood that harmful impacts are lurking from this mining practice.

It should be noted that the mining industry in West Papua is often in the spotlight due to its impact on the environment and local communities. Intensive mining activities can cause environmental damage, conflict with indigenous peoples, as well as other social and economic problems.

Therefore, managing this mining sector wisely and paying attention to environmental, social, and sustainability aspects is essential. In other words, balancing the huge potential of mining with the possible impacts is necessary.

Several mining companies, including PT PT Freeport Indonesia, have balanced the impact of mining activity. Currently, PT Freeport Indonesia is committed to minimizing the environmental impact of its mining operations in West Papua.

Following are some of the efforts made by PT Freeport Indonesia:

1. Monitoring of Environmental Conditions in the Work Area

PT Freeport Indonesia conducts environmental protection and monitoring programs in all its work areas, from the lowlands to the highlands. The water quality, sediment, biology, and hydrology characteristics are routinely measured.

2. Waste Management

In processing gold ore, tailings waste will always be generated. For PT Freeport Indonesia, tailings waste is the enormous waste they produce.

For this reason, PT Freeport Indonesia pays special attention to tailings deposition sites by continuing to reclamation and planting mangroves. [3]

Implementing Good Mining Practices

To balance the positive and negative impacts of mining, the Indonesian government encourages the application of good mining practices. In March 2023, President Jokowi made it clear that all mining companies must be capable of implementing good mining practices. [4]

Good mining practice is a way of managing mines that pays attention to all aspects, including the environment and ecosystem. With good mining practices, the mining industry can optimize the positive impacts yet minimize the negative ones. [5]

Good mining practices are not only socially and environmentally responsible. Moreover, they can also contribute to the mining industry’s long-term viability. 

To conclude, the mining industry in West Papua must be capable of implementing good mining practices. Especially in order to balance the positive and negative impacts of their activities. 

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