Human rights defenders reveal illegal gold mining operation at Siriwo River, Nabire Regency

The Papuan Tabernacle church (KINGMI Papua) has raised concerns over a large-scale gold panning operation at the Siriwo River, Nabire Regency. The company PT Jichuan is currently building a large ship for excavation of gravel from the river bed in midst the forest (see intro image). The head of the Papuan Department for Energy and Mineral Resources (Dinas ESDM Provinsi Papua), Fred Bonay, confirmed in an interview with the local media outlet JUBI that the mining company does not have a license for alluvial gold extraction. In early July, a team from the Nabire District police visited the site at Kilometer 102, Siriwo District. The police stopped the construction temporarily until PT Jichuan has arranged the licenses for the gold panning operation, including an environmental impact assessment.

Human rights activists had informed provincial parliament member and customary leader John Gobai about the presence of PT Jichuan’s ship in the Siriwo District. John Gobai exposed the case in the media, questioning the legality of the ship and the benefit of such mining operations for the local indigenous communities. Activists suspect that the police and military in Siriwo were well aware that the construction of the ship was illegal, but did not intervene as the company allegedly paid bribes.