Freeport does not produce uranium: Council member

Freeport does not produce uranium: Council member
, 30 July 2010

Regional council members are confident that allegations that PT Freeport Indonesia is mining uranium in Papua are unfounded, ahead of the release of report by a special investigative team.

Mervin Sedipun Komber, deputy chairman of the Committee II of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), stated following the committee’s visit to the company’s tailing pits in Portsite Port and other sites from July 25 to 28.

“No uranium is being mined at those sites. No technology is available there to support that sort of mining,” he told a press conference in Timika, Mimika regency, Papua.

Mervin visited the site along with a team from the Nuclear Power Controlling Agency (Bapeten) and National Nuclear Power Agency (Batan) as well as from the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Mimika Mining Agency.

The six-strong team took two liters of concentrate from two different spots as samples to be further examined at Bapeten and Batan laboratories.

Samples were also procured from the Grassberg mine site in Tembagapura, Freeport processing factory at Mile 74, underground mining site and the tailing area.

Team director Reno Alamsyah said the tests would take around a week to complete.

“The government will publicly announce [the results] as soon as possible because the issue is important for the community,” Reno said.

Rumors had circulated that Freeport, the world’s largest gold mining company, was also extracting

The allegations, according to Mervin, had sparked fears of radiation exposure among nearby communities and mine employees.

Yan Permenas Mandenas, a member of Papuan legislative council, was earlier quoted by Antara saying Freeport had stolen Papuan wealth and masked its operations by transporting uranium through underground pipelines.

Freeport denied the allegations.

Satellite mapping, according to Reno, showed that uranium was indeed obtainable in Papua.

“We are not denying that Papua has uranium, but we are not yet sure about its exact location,” he said.