28 Nov 2016

Former Air Force chief to head Papua's Grasberg mine

10:33 am on 28 November 2016
 Freeport security personnel looking on at the Freeport McMoRan's Grasberg mining complex, one of the world's biggest gold and copper mines, located in Indonesia's remote eastern Papua province.

The colossal Freeport operated Grasberg mine in Papua is Indonesia's largest revenue earner. Photo: AFP PHOTO / OLIVIA RONDONUWU

The mining giant Freeport has selected a former chief of staff of Indonesia's air force to be chief executive of its Papua-based operations.

Freeport's colossal Grasberg gold and copper mine complex in Papua province is Indonesia's single largest source of revenue.

The New Orleans-based parent company is in protracted negotiations with Jakarta over an extension of its contract to operate in Papua.

The appointment of Chappy Hakim follows previous Freeport CEO appointments of retired military leaders.

However, his selection comes as a disappointment in Papua for those who had hoped that after over four decades of operations the time had come for an indigenous Papuan to get the role.

A Papuan legislator, Laurenzus Kadepa, told Tabloi Jubi that Mr Hakim's appointment reflects the security considerations of Freeport's shareholders.

He said Papua is considered a security issue-prone region and thus shareholders prefer to see a military figure in charge.

Mr Kadepa adds that the Indonesian government also wants someone close to Jakarta in charge as the negotiations over contract renewal intensify in the coming years.