US-based mining giant Freeport McMoRan is still paying Indonesian troops to protect a large gold and copper mine in Papua, despite regulations requiring the military to hand over to police. London-based Rio Tinto helped finance the expansion of the Grasberg mine and continues to profit from its operations.
Freeport McMoRan said its local subsidiary paid “less than” 1.6 million dollars through wire transfers and cheques in 2008 to provide a “monthly allowance” to police and soldiers at and around the mine.
The disclosure, made in response to questions from AFP, means the company continues to pay soldiers in contravention of a series of legal measures aimed at stopping military units working as paid protection, rights activists said.