The Environment and Forestry Ministry said Monday it would summon environmental experts to calculate the losses inflicted by Freeport Indonesia, which would be the government’s basis to sue the US gold and copper miner for polluting the environment.
“The Ministry’s dispute resolution directorate is set to collect data related to environmental losses,” said Yazid Nurhuda, the Ministry’s Director of Complaints, Oversight, and Administrative Sanctions.
According to Yazid, the Indonesian government will file a lawsuit against Freeport Indonesia based on the polluter pays principle as regulated by Law No 31/2009 on environmental management and protection. This is related to the losses of forest space, diminishing biodiversity, or pollution exceeding the government’s standards.
The Indonesian government said Freeport’s violation had damaged the ecosystem such as rivers, mangrove forest areas, the ocean, and exposure to mining waste originating from the mine’s modified Ajkwa deposition area (ModADA). Officials also said the ecological losses around the Grasberg mine was attributed to Freeport’s failure to adhere to the environment management plans (RKL) and environment monitoring plans (RPL).
The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) has estimated that the environmental losses caused by Freeport’s operations reach a staggering Rp185trillion. The agency also stated that Freeport’s ModADA was unable to accommodate the waste produced each day, allowing for its waste production of 100,000 tons daily in 1990 to 300,000 daily in 2016.
Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama has balked at commenting further when Tempo asked him for confirmation.