Uranium exploration could harm indigenous population

Uranium exploration could harm indigenous population
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.