Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Action at Indo Mines AGM, Perth, Australia

November 30th 2011 was the annual general meeting of Indo Mines, the Australian company which plans to mine a huge section of the Javanese coast at Kulon Progo. A local group from Perth, in solidarity with the ongoing farmers' struggle, visited the meeting to remind shareholders that any investment in Indo Mines is inherently risky, for the simple reason that the entire coastal community will resist any attempt the company makes to commence its operations.

One of the participants reported how it went on the day: “There were 6 of us, 3 went inside dressed in our corporate best. We were anticipating having to barge past security but there was no security to be seen and we entered the meeting room unhindered. We then distributed information [a spoof company report] all around the room so that shareholders will get it when they sit down. Then went outside for photos. While outside we met a few people from Indo Mines on their way in and had typical conversations... they said the mine wouldn't disrupt farming and that farming was marginal anyway, to which we replied that we know that is a lie and asked why farmers are being sent to jail and having their homes burnt by fascists. The Indo Mines people are ignorant (or pretend to be ignorant) of any of these attacks or the situation on the ground.”

The information they circulated gave some background on the history of resistance to the plan to mine iron sand in the area: “Indo Mines stays quiet about this conflict in the
hope that shareholders remain ignorant of the
risks involved. Local resistance will see the project delayed, potentially by years, or even
stopped completely... the biggest obstacle to the project is local
resistance from farmers who live on and cultivate the land Indo Mines intends to develop. Those farmers do not want to leave, understandably, because their chillies, melons and crabs are very good. These farmers have organised many protests against this project – they have occupied government buildings in Yogyakarta, the court house in Kulon Progo and the university which is conducting research with Indo Mines. They have even rescued one of their own from police custody after a protest. There have been claims of sabotage and hostage-taking at the pilot site. And one of the leaders of the Association of Shoreline Farmers has been jailed for three years for his involvement in resistance.”

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