Amungme against Freeport-McMoRan, Indonesia


Freeport became interested in West Papua in the 1950's and in 1965 negotiations between Freeport and Indonesia began one month after a military coup and widespread massacres brought General Suharto to power. Freeport was the first foreign corporation to sign a deal with Suharto's regime.

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Basic Data
NameAmungme against Freeport-McMoRan, Indonesia
ProvinceWest Papua
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific CommoditiesCopper
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsFreeport began open-pit mining of the Grasberg ore body in 1990. Open-pit operations are expected to continue through 2015, at which time the Grasberg underground mining operations are scheduled to begin. Production is currently at the 3,295-to 4,285-m elevation level and totaled 49.0 million metric tons of ore in 2008 and 57.5 million metric tons of ore in 2007.

Everyday, the operation discharges 230,000 tonnes of tailings (waste rock) into the Aghawagon River below. Freeport estimates operations will continue until 2041.
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date01/01/1996
Company Names or State EnterprisesFreeport-McMoRan from United States of America
PT Freeport Indonesia from Indonesia
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from Australia - Entered in 1995 and owns 40% of the Grasberg mine
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEarthrights International, Cultural Survival
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The US district court dismissed the case in 1998 on the basis that the environmental and human rights abuses alleged by Beanal were not violations of the 'law of nations'. Beanal appealed this ruling, but the court of appeals affirmed the lower court's dismissal of the case in 1999. In the Louisiana state court case, Alomang alleged that Freeport had engaged in human rights and environmental violations through its corporate policies and conduct at its Grasberg mine in West Papua. She claimed relief under Louisiana state tort law. Alomang's case was dismissed by the state court in 2000 for failure to state an actionable claim against Freeport.
Sources and Materials

Alien Tort Statute (US)


Links provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
[click to view]


(1) Cultural Survival
[click to view]

Faith Based Network - West Papua
[click to view]

Technical details about the Grasberg mine
[click to view]

Eco-action fact sheet
[click to view]

Sierra Club And Earthrights International
[click to view]

Cultural Survival
[click to view]

Brief Of Amici Curiae

Meta Information
ContributorIrene Pietropaoli
Last update03/05/2014