Freeport Urged to Continue Developing Human Resources

Freeport Urged to Continue Developing Human Resources

The Jakarta Post, March 13, 2009, by Markus Makur, Timika

Manpower and Transmigration Minister Erman Suparno called on PT Freeport Indonesia to play a bigger role in developing human resources and infrastructure in Mimika regency in particular, but also throughout Papua province.

Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of an underground tunnel simulator made by students of Nemangkawi Mining Institute (IPN), Erman suggested the institute could also be used to provide courses that were open to the general public.

Freeport, which founded the institute aiming to improve its internal human resources, should not only produce graduates to work in its various departments, but also for other companies in Indonesia and overseas, he said.

"IPN students are the nation's cadres from Papua. Freeport has been operating in Mimika and Papua for 36 years. What has it contributed to the community in Mimika and to the people of Papua?" Erman asked.

"Freeport should continue promoting education to improve Papua's skills base. I want a school for economic development in entrepreneurship to be set up at IPN so Freeport workers can remain active during their retirement years," Erman said.

"The government is thankful to IPN for its contribution in the improvement of human resources among the people of Mimika and Papua," he said.

During Erman's working visit to Papua, he also stopped to visit Merauke and Jayapura training centers.

Erman urged Freeport Indonesia to work hard to prevent layoffs during the current global financial difficulties. It has reportedly dismissed 26 expatriates recently.

PT Freeport Indonesia president director Armando Mahler said IPN had produced 150 graduates from its apprenticeship and diploma III programs who were primed in their respective fields.

Despite the impacts of the global downturn, Freeport has not cut its budget for human resources development through IPN which has provided training for 2,500 students thus far.

"The curriculum employed at IPN is 20 percent theory and 80 percent practical training. IPN has also forged a partnership with an institute in Semarang and the Bandung Institute of Technology for post graduate studies. We expect to produce graduates who are salable locally, regionally and internationally," said Mahler.

Mimika vice regent Abdul Muis said population growth in Mimika regency was very high compared to other regencies in Indonesia because of its gold and copper mines.

Muis said Freeport, through the Amungme and Kamoro Community Development Institute (which manages the 1 percent partnership funds provided by Freeport Indonesia) and the Mimika administration had vowed to improve human resources in the remote and mountainous areas of Mimika through education, health care and infrastructure developments, for example by setting up clean water facilities in Mimika's coastal areas.

"The Mimika administration wishes to forge a strong partnership with Freeport Indonesia for the sake of progress in every field in Mimika," Muis said.