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Noble Group plans palm oil plantations in Papua, Indonesia


In June 2010, Noble Group, one of the worlds largest global commodity traders, acquired a 51% stake in the Indonesian palm-oil company PT Henrison Inti Persada (PT HIP), a subsidiary of the Kayu Lapis Indonesia Group, giving it control of the 32,500 ha of forested lands in Sorong Regency, West Papua Province, where PT HIP is developing oil-palm plantations. Local communities were paid as little as US$0.60 - 2.50 per hectare when the lands were acquired by PT HIP. Communities were also promised schools, houses, and vehicles upon acquisition of the land, but when EIA visited in 2011 none of the promises had materialized. According to Sawit Watch, a local NGO, PT HIP had cleared 21,500 ha for planting of palm oil by July 2013. Activity was stalled due to an attempted merging of Noble Group and Wilmar, another large Asiatic agricultural firm, which was rejected by the Indonesian government. Foreign media is currently banned from reporting in Papua and it is unclear if the project will move forward, but details are vague.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Noble Group plans palm oil plantations in Papua, Indonesia
State or province:Papua Province
Location of conflict:Kiyura village
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

,000 ha of palm oil plantations to be developed, as well as a palm oil refinery in Klasafet for both PT HIP and PT IKS’s plantations. Once completed, the plantation will be worth US$162 million. The company also owns an additional 38,300 ha through their subsidiary PT IKS (promoted by Kalia Agro, also owned by PT HIP).

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Project area:32,500
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Moi Tribe
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Noble Group
PT. Henrison Inti Persada from Indonesia
Relevant government actors:The President, unknown government actors with power to reject merging of Wilmar & Noble’s subsidiaries.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Forest Peoples Programme (, Sawit Watch (, Ketua Adat Suku Anak Dalam Batin Sembilan, Yayasan SETARA Jambi (
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Development of alternatives:Develop sago (traditional foodstuff), not oil palm. From EIA: West Papua’s Provincial Government should: work to secure the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in writing, ensure PT IKS and PT HIP honor the legal requirement to develop 20% of estate holdings as smallholder or Plasma estates, investigate potentially unlawful timber clearance. The Indonesian Government should: investigate timber permits, publish details of KLI Group’s debt repayment. Norwegian Government should: Establish and inter-development working group, provide financial incentives directly to Papuan landowners in Sorong to conserve their forests.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Unclear, but the project seems to be moving forward. Favorable economic and governmental conditions will encourage others if this project is to move forward.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

SVLK Law, Forest Relinquishment Permit

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

EIA & telapak, 2012, 'Clear-cut Exploitation'
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

, 'Noble invests in palm oil production in Indonesia'
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The Edge 'Wilmar and Noble plam joint venture in Indonesia's Papua stalls' -
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Sawit Watch 'Sawit Kian Menggusur Hutan Papua' / 'Evicting Kian palm forests of Papua'
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Jakarta Post, 'Palm Oil Plantation Project Rejected'

The Edge Signapore, 2013, 'Wilmar and Noble palm joint venture in Indonesia's Papua stalls'

Noble Group, 'Wilmar and Noble form palm focused strategic joint venture'

Papua Forest Eye, 'Noble Savages Papua's Forests'

Environmental Investigation Agency 'West Papua's big palm oil plantations rip-off'
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Other comments:In February of 2013 Noble Group and Wilmar International, the largest Asiatic agricultural group (based in Singapore), announced a joint venture via subsidiaries Noble Resources Pte. Ltd and Newbloom Pte Ltd (respectively) to own Noble Plantations Pte Ltd (aka JVCo), which planned to develop palm oil in the region of Paupa, Indonesia. JVCo owned a majority interest in PT Henrison Inti Persada, and the land was to be transferred to the parent companies through their shares (Noble: 46.27% Wilmar: 53.74%). As of September 2013, however, this deal was stalled due to failure to win approval from Indonesian authorities. The companies still intend to expand their portfolio of landholdings and oil palm plantations in Indonesia.
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global is a major investor in Noble Group.
PT Kayu Lapis’s website is under construction, PT HIP has no found website.
Meta information
Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update24/06/2014
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