Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

Freeport and the Suharto Regime, 1965-1998

File SizeFormat 
v14n1-69-100.pdf145.32 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Item Summary

Title: Freeport and the Suharto Regime, 1965-1998
Authors: Leith, Denise
Keywords: corruption
show 1 moreWest Papua
show less
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Leith, D. 2002. Freeport and the Suharto Regime, 1965-1998. The Contemporary Pacific 14 (1): 69-100.
Abstract: In 196 7 the transnational mining company Fre e p o rt was the first foreign company
to sign a contract after Sukarno was sidelined by Suharto. Eventually, Freeport-
McMoRan Copper and Gold, through its subsidiary PT Fre e p o rt Indonesia, came
to operate the biggest gold mine and lowest extraction-price copper mine in the
world in the isolated mountains of the Indonesian province of West Papua. It
also became politically and economically significant to the Suharto regime. In the
absence of the central government, the American mining company became the de
facto developer and administrator of its concession in West Papua while in the
United States it served as an important political lobby group for Jakarta. With
Freeport becoming the largest taxpayer in Indonesia, one of the largest employers,
and eventually running one of the largest socioeconomic programs in the
republic, it was described by Suharto as essential to the nation’s economy. Freeport’s
importance encouraged the development of mutually beneficial and supp
o rtive relationships between the company, the Indonesian president, his military,
and the nation’s political elite. In return, Freeport was politically and physically
protected by the regime. Eventually, Freeport’s financing of the president and his
cronies’ interests in the company threatened to see Freeport violating the United
States’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Today Freeport’s past relationship with Suharto has made it a high-profile target
for anticorruption reformers in Indonesia. Because of the pivotal economic
role the company continues to play in Jakarta and West Papua, any question of
future independence for the province will be inextricably linked to the company.
ISSN: 1043-898X
Appears in Collections:TCP [The Contemporary Pacific ], 2002 - Volume 14, Number 1

Items in ScholarSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.