Singapore: Two Australian men are facing up to 12 years in an Indonesian prison after being caught with methamphetamine and syringes while working at one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines.
The men, aged 46 and 44, have been detained by police in the contested West Papua region, the easternmost corner of the Indonesian archipelago.
They had been working for an Indonesian contractor on the giant mine in the district of Mimika.
I Gede Putra, the Mimika police chief, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that officers had found nine syringes and an empty plastic sachet in the room where one of the men was living in the town of Tembagapura. A subsequent search of the other Australian’s room uncovered seven small plastic bags containing powder suspected to be methamphetamine, police said.
Authorities have not released their names but the main have held in custody at the Mimika police station since the raids on June 28 and face between four and 12 years in jail if convicted.
The men had been working for five and seven years respectively for Redpath Indonesia, a subcontractor to Freeport Indonesia, which operates the mine, and police said they had been consuming methamphetamine during the previous year.
The drugs were found in the residential area for workers at the mine, which is located in a mountain range at 4267 metres above sea level and has the world’s largest gold reserve and among the biggest copper deposits.
Indonesia has notoriously strict drugs laws including lengthy prison terms for possession of illegal substances.