PROTEST OVER U.S. MINING COMPANY IN IRIAN JAYA

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (November 2, 1998 - AP/KABAR-IRAN)---Dancing and playing traditional drums, about 100 people from a remote Indonesian province protested today against a U.S.-based mining company.

The demonstrators alleged that Freeport Indonesia, a unit of New Orleans-based Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold Inc., was exploiting mineral-rich Irian Jaya.

Freeport operates the world's single largest copper and gold deposit mine in the province in the western half of New Guinea island.

Students from Irian Jaya rallied outside the attorney general's office, saying Freeport had failed to adequately help out the poor province while reaping the benefits of its natural resources.

"There is financial support for the Irianese but it's only a small amount after years of robbing our copper and gold,'' said protester Hendrik Mansnembra.

Mansnembra said Freeport had made little effort to negotiate with the Irianese after three decades of mining in the eastern Indonesian province.

Freeport pumps some money back into the local economy, and has built schools and bridges. Critics say more aid is needed.

Freeport has long been shrouded in controversy due to its close ties with the Indonesian government and perceived links with former President Suharto, who quit in May after riots and protests forced him to end 32 years of authoritarian rule.

The attorney general's office is investigating the alleged involvement of Indonesian senior economic minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita in a 1991 transaction between Freeport and an Indonesian conglomerate, the Bakrie group.

The deal led to the renewal of Freeport's operating contract with the government that year.

INDONESIAN PRESIDENT HABIBIE URGED TO INVESTIGATE FREEPORT

JAKARTA, Indonesia (November 3, 1998 - ANTARA/KABAR-IRIAN)---The Society of Irian Jaya has urged President B.J. Habibie to form a fact-finding team that would look into the activities of the giant mining company, PT Freeport Indonesia.

In a press statement issued here Monday, the society said the team should investigate Freeport's contract of work as well as possible human rights violations it has committed and damages it has inflicted on the environment.

It also demanded that the Attorney General stop all activities of Indonesian companies operating at the Timika/Tembagapura mining concessions under PT Freeport Indonesia.

The society further called on the Attorney General to investigate officials involved in Freeport projects for their possible role in funding some killings around the mining area.

It hailed efforts launched by President Habibie to create a good governance that is free from corruption, collusion and nepotism, as this reflects respect for human rights.

The statement was signed by Irianese figures Hengky H. Jokhu, Jimmy DIjie, John P. Menanty and Wiem Taroei.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") For assistance, please e-mail: help-bi@irja.org (auto-responder) or admin@irja.org World Wide Web: http://www.irja.org

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