Indigenous Peoples

Our community engagement and local investment objectives are significantly focused on indigenous peoples in Papua, Indonesia; Native Americans in the United States; and the communities of Alto Loa in Chile (Chile’s First People). Through community engagement, cultural promotion and preservation projects, as well as training and development programs, we seek to address the needs, cultures and customs of indigenous peoples near our operations. Engaging with groups focused on indigenous peoples’ rights at the local, national and international levels is also important for two-way sharing of information about approaches to indigenous peoples’ topics in varying geographies.

In Chile, our El Abra operation near Calama engages regularly with 10 indigenous communities, and the operation has established an Agreement of Cooperation with the Community of Conchi Viejo whose town is located between the plant and the mine, and also with the Community of Tiara. During 2015, we implemented additional, formalized engagement, assessment and management systems to effectively address social impacts and community development topics within the corridor surrounding the operation where we have a future expansion opportunity. Coupled with the Freeport-McMoRan Chile Foundation for social investment, we significantly increased our strategic stakeholder engagement and community development activities in these communities in 2015.

In the U.S., we continued engagement with our tribal partners including the Hualapai Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe, investing over $2.7 million in Native American initiatives, including our San Carlos Training Institute. Education was identified as a priority issue for our partner tribes, and our Native American Scholarship program awarded 39 college scholarships to tribal students who are attending colleges and universities across the U.S. Additional support for the development of future youth leadership was provided to the United National Indian Tribal Youth organization. Through our Native American Partnership Fund we funded nine programs including the GuVo Youth summer enrichment program, the Himdag Ki: Exhibition Space Renovation project and an Elder Empowerment program. Additionally, in partnership with Thunderbird School of Global Management, we developed and hosted Project DreamCatcher, a week long business-skills training program for women entrepreneurs from our four partnership tribal communities. The program engaged 17 women in marketing, financial planning and strategy courses along with integrated mentorship, guidance on setting and achieving goals and post-program online business coaching.

In Indonesia, PTFI has engaged with indigenous Papuan tribes for decades, including through numerous formal agreements to promote workforce skills training, health, education and basic infrastructure development. The desire of indigenous Papuans to preserve cultural heritage is shared by PTFI and demonstrated through support for cultural festivals and books documenting the social uniqueness of the Amungme and Kamoro tribes. In 2015, PTFI continued to evaluate the effectiveness of alternate options for Kamoro community members whose estuary transport routes are impacted by sedimentation associated with the controlled riverine tailings management system. Provision of smaller sized boats, in addition to 50 passenger vessels, for route flexibility as well as additional local economic development programs were identified as additional mitigation measures during the year.

PTFI’s “January Agreement” of 1974 with the Amungme was the first recognition in Indonesia of hak ulayat, or the right of traditional people to land used for hunting and gathering. Compensation in the form of recognition (rekognisi) is paid to communities for a release of hak ulayat, as hak ulayat is a communal property right. PTFI has paid recognition in several instances over the years through programs mutually agreed to by consultation and guided by the laws of the Government of Indonesia. In addition, land rights trust funds for the Amungme and Kamoro tribes were created in 2001 to provide voluntary special recognition for holders of the hak ulayat. PTFI has contributed nearly $54 million to these funds through 2015.

In 1996, PTFI established the Freeport Partnership Fund for Community Development (the Partnership Fund), through which PTFI has made available funding and technical assistance to support the economic, health, education and social development of the indigenous Papuan community. Through the Partnership Fund, PTFI has committed to provide one percent of its annual revenue for the development of the indigenous Papuan community. The Amungme and Kamoro Community Development Organization (LPMAK) is the Papuan community organization that oversees disbursement of the program funds. LPMAK is governed by a board of commissioners and a board of directors, which are comprised of representatives from the local Amungme and Kamoro tribal communities, local government, Papuan regional leaders, church leaders, and PTFI. Contributions to the Partnership Fund were nearly $27 million in 2015 and over $660 million since its inception in 1996.

PTFI has also sponsored research and the publication of a series of books on Papuan indigenous cultures including books titled “Introducing Papua,” “Highlands of Papua,” and “South Coast of Papua.” The Amungme and Kamoro Community Development Organization (LPMAK), which manages the Partnership Fund, has also published two books – one on the Amungme and Kamoro folklore, and another on traditional music. Since 2012, PTFI also has developed strategic partnerships with the Papua Center of the University of Indonesia and Bentara Budaya, a national culture and art institution, to widely promote Papuan culture as part of Indonesia’s cultural diversity.

For more information, please see Land Use and Customary Rights.


The Kamoro
A documentary produced by Kalman N. Muller, written by
Dr. Kal Muller, with support
from PT-Freeport Indonesia.
39 minutes
Bahasa Indonesia