Tabloid-Wani -- A Canadian company has staked a claim to one of the world’s biggest gold mines by entering an agreement with groups seeking West Papuan independence.
The Grasberg mine in the Indonesian province of Papua is currently owned by an assortment of firms including Freeport McMoRan and Rio Tinto.
The deal struck by Van Gold Resources only has worth if Indonesia loses the territory.
“While the agreement is obviously not currently enforceable against those companies operating under Indonesian auspices, it may be one day,” says the company’s lawyer Dr Jonathan Levy.
Under its agreement with the West Papua Liberation Organisation (WPLO), Van Gold has negotiation rights should independence be achieved.
“The intent here is to make a statement that the people of West Papua and not the Indonesian occupiers are the true owners of the land and its resources,” Dr Levy told Pasifik News. “The multinationals that are extracting billions of dollars must one day be held accountable for their cooperation with a colonialist regime.”
The company concedes the agreement may amount to nothing, especially given the WPLO is only one of several groups fighting for independence. When approached for comment, the United Liberation Movement for West Papua revealed it knew nothing of the deal.
“In the scheme of things this is a forward looking proposition,” says Dr Levy. “This is no more speculative then companies which are now developing asteroid mining in a serious manner.”
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