Freeport’s Waste Can Grow Eggplant and Turn into Brick, How come?


Mining is always synonymous with environmental damage and pollution. But lately, the mining industry is increasingly aware of the importance of green mining or mining that still maintains the sustainability of the ecosystem.

So as far as possible, the mining wastes are now starting to be recycled into useful materials. PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) is one of the mining companies that utilizes the disposal of mining sand or tailings as a medium for planting various hydroponic plants.

“MP-21 is a research center established by Freeport to manage tailings from an ecological perspective, whether it has an impact on life. We do 3 things in tailings how to grow plants, the second must be able to bear fruit and the third is safe for human consumption,” said Robeth Sarwom as General Superintendent PTFI Reclamation and Biodiversity to detikcom in the MP-21 area, Timika, Papua some time ago.

Furthermore, Robeth explained that many initially questioned whether plants could live on the tailings? The fact is that acres of plants here are able to grow and bear fruit, such as tomatoes, melons, eggplants, to pineapples.

Robeth said that even the fruit of the plant meets the quality standards set by the government. These plants also do not require special treatment, only given additional compost.

Apart from proving that fruits and vegetables can grow, bear fruit and are safe for consumption, tailings are also in fact capable of being a medium for fish and even cows to live.

“Fish and cows prove it, cows eat grass here and fish also drink from this water. This tailings land has no problem with cows consuming grass, it proves that the accumulation here is still within the safe threshold,” he added.


In addition to focusing on tailings management as a medium for growing and living for fish and cattle, this 100 ha area also has cages for maintaining protected endemic animals. or in the flush.


This animal is the result of contraband that has been secured by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) which is about to be released back into the wild. One of the endemic animals in MP-21 is the pig-nosed turtle. In addition, this place is also a conservation for rare butterflies such as Ornithoptera Priamus.


Meanwhile, Freeport in MP-21 also employs 7 tribes in the mining area, such as the Kamoro and Amungme tribes. Apart from being a form of social responsibility, this is also intended to foster the independence of indigenous Papuans.




Apart from being used for agriculture, Freeport also utilizes the tailings or mine waste to build roads and buildings.


Sastro Siburian as Superintendent Tailings Utilization said Freeport also produces bricks, paving blocks, ready mix to filter asphalt. Several roads in Timika are claimed to use this material, including the regent’s office. Sastro said that per day there are 4 tons of paving blocks produced with 10 tons of tailings.


“Now the trend is green mining, how the spirit of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry can be realized in Indonesia. Mining is known to damage the environment, we want to change that image, mining can also pay attention to the environment and use the rest of its products to support the lives of the people around it,” he explained.