Uranium exploration could harm indigenous population

Tabloid JUBI, 31 August 2010—The chairman of the Papuan Customary Council (DAP), Forkorus Yoboisembut is concerned that the explorations into uranium now being conducted by Freeport in the Timika region are failing to take the interests of the indigenous people into account and could result in having a negative impact on their welfare.

 

These explorations, which have already been under way for eight months are not transparent. ‘We have made strong representations to the company that these exploration can be harmful to the customary groups,’ he said.

To ensure that the local communities do not have any objections regarding the exploration of uranium, the investors and the government should co-ordinate with the traditional owners (of the land).’ There is a need for transparency by the investors about how long the explorations will be conducted and what the local communities will receive in payment,’ he said.

The amount of uranium thought to be present in the Freeport mine is far higher than the minimum rate of 83 ppm (parts per million), whereas the economically viable minimum universally accepted is 1,000 ppm

‘I think that the investors and the government need to be more open towards the local communities about the benefits and disadvantages of the exploration of uranium that is now under way,’ he said.*

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