West Papua has an enormous potential in the mineral and mining sector that hasn’t yet fully developed. Until today, the industry has a massive contribution to the provincial income, other than the marine and fishery sector. Let’s look at what the potentials are and how the government optimizes the mining industry in the region.
Mineral and Mining Potentials in West Papua
The amount of nonmetallic minerals scattered all over the region – especially in Sorong, South Sorong, Manokwari, Bintuni Bay, and Wondama Bay – reaches millions of tons. Some nonmetallic minerals that can contribute to the provincial income are limestone, kaolin, quartzite, or marble in industrial minerals classification.
Limestone can be found in Tuwanwowoi-Maruni Hill, Ransiki area, Manokwari regency and district, Klademak area, Sorong regency, Skendi area, Maybrat, and Nanimori Village at Wondama Bay. In total, the amount of limestone in the region reaches up to 2,238.8 million.
Other nonmetallic minerals are:
- Andesite, reaching up to 13 million tons in Bukit Cenderawasih area and Sorong regency.
- Granite, reaching up to 5.8 million tons in S. Remu, Sorong regency.
- Kaolin, reaching up to 20 thousand tons in Baruna village, Aranday district, and Bintuni Bay Regency.
- Marmer, reaching up to 1 million tons in Gaya Baru area, Ransiki district, Manokwari regency.
- Clay, reaching up to 3,172.52 million tons in Bintuni Bay Regency, Maybrat regency, and Manokwari regency.
- Sirtu, reaching up to 658.8 million tons, spread over several areas in the Manokwari regency, Sorong regency, and Bintuni Bay regency.
In the mining sector, we have the Arfak Mountains district as the gold mine. To optimize the gold mining industry and the community welfare, the district government of the Arfak Mountains, West Papua, encourages the locals to get involved in community mining. The potential areas are Menyambouw, Catubow, Testega, and Didogu, almost every area in Arfak Mountains.
The government’s ways to optimize the mining industry in West Papua
To optimize the mining industry, especially the gold mines in Arfak Mountains District, the local government has assembled a team and prepared the fund to conduct thorough surveys and studies to prevent the mining from causing environmental problems in Arfak Mountains and the surrounding areas such as Manokwari and South Manokwari.
The reason behind encouraging community mining is that the community can receive the maximum direct benefit from the gold potential in the area. The process to obtain a community mining permit is not as long and complex as getting the license for large-scale mining.
There is no need to bring investors, central government permits, or convoluted permit flow and bureaucracy. It will be managed by cooperation to ensure transparent and fair profit distribution. If we are heavily dependent on large-scale mining, we face the risk of looming illegal mining involving venture capitalists.
However, it’s almost impossible to manage tons of mineral and mining potential in West Papua without any investor. Therefore, the government needs a good investment climate to ramp up the regional income.
To create a good investment climate that will attract more investors, the government needs to ensure the alignment of regulations within legal certainty, fiscal and tax certainty, and business and investment stability. Consistent regulations, especially in fiscal and tax, will create a sense of security for the investors.
Therefore, it is necessary to have a joint commitment between the central government, regional governments, stakeholders, and other parties concerned to have similar perspectives and cooperate.
Moreover, the laws and regulations in the energy, mineral, and mining resources sector need to provide incentives to attract investors, especially to build a processing plant for various mining products in the local area and not to sell raw materials.
This will allow an increase in regional competitiveness, including in human resources, infrastructure, and superstructure or policies and incentives for community empowerment through policies that favor local communities or custom and regulation of the use of customary land rights concerning investment.
Since the mineral and mining sector is crucial for West Papua’s income, the government needs to take several measures to optimize the mining industry. These measures will not only be beneficial for the government but also for the welfare of the locals.