The Salim Group builds palm oil empire in West Papua

A coalition of Papuan civil society organisations have expressed concerns over the expansion of palm oil companies owned by the Salim Group (logo on the left). According to a fact sheet published by the NGOs WALHI Papua, Belantara, Pusaka and Vali Papua, many SALIM subsidiaries reportedly committed violations against local indigenous communities and national regulations. The Salim Group owns ten palm oil companies in the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat. However, this is just a small share of the Salim Group’s business empire. The family-run company owns investments in food, banking and telecommunications in and outside of Indonesia. Anthoni Salim, the CEO of the Salim Group, is considered the fifth richest person in Indonesia, with an estimated wealth of 5.3 billion US$.

NGOs estimate that the SALIM Group - through its subsidiaries - has acquired a total land size of 266.736 ha between 2012 and 2017 for the establishment of palm oil plantations. According to attachment 3 of Minister of Agriculture Regulation No. 26 / Permentan / OT.140 / 2/2007 and article 4 (1) c of the regulation of the Minister of Agrarian Affairs / Head of the National Land Agency Number 2 of 1999 concerning Location Permits, the concession area for one palm oil company is limited to 20.000 hectares within one province, or 100.000 hectares in entire Indonesia. Several of the Salim-owned plantations clearly exceed these legal boundaries.

At least four of the SALIM subsidiaries are responsible for deforestation, violation of FPIC (Free, Prior, Informed Consent) principles, violence against local indigenous communities, including the destruction or eviction of their food sources and/or sacred places (see table below). One of the companies, namely PT Bintuni Agro Prima Perkasa, allegedly runs its palm oil plantation without having an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Table with plam oil companies in West Papua owned by the Salim Group

No Company name Location (Regency) Concession area (hectares) Violations
1 PT Bintuni Agro Prima Perkasa Tambrauw 19.368,77 (cultivation rights HGU 2.308,33) eviction or destruction of sago hamletts and sacred places; Violation of FPIC principles; involvement of security forces leading to violence against indigneous communities, operating without EIA, planting on peat soil, deforestation
2 PT Subur Karunia Raya Teluk Bintuni 38.620 Violation of FPIC principles; unfair compensation payment to indigenous land owners, deforestation
3 PT Rimbun Sawit Papua Fak-Fak 24.455,12 (cultivation rights HGU 19.880,83) Eviction or destruction of sago hamletts and sacred places; Violation of FPIC principles; causing conflict within indigneous community, planting on peat soil, deforestation
4 PT Adiajaya Mulia Kaimana 8.000 N/A
5 PT Menara Wasior Teluk Wondama 32.173 N/A
6 PT Tunas Agung Sejahtera Mimika 40.000 N/A
7 PT Putra Palma Cemerlang Asmat 32.119 N/A
8 PT Ekolindo Palm Nusantara Asmat 20.000 N/A
9 PT Ekolindo Palm Lestari Asmat 20.000 N/A
10 PT Üermata Nusa Mandiri Jayapura 32.000     (cultivation rights HGU 10.486,73) Deforestation
Aquired land area (2012-2017) 266.736