Norway’s wealth fund puts Indonesian firm under observation

Norway’s wealth fund has placed Semen Indonesia, an Indonesian state-controlled cement maker, under observation for three years for the “risk of damage” to prehistoric cave paintings on Sulawesi Island by the firms’ activities.

One of the company’s subsidiaries operates a mine near 18 caves in South Sulawesi. An area that houses some of the world’s oldest paintings, according to Norges Bank which manages the sovereign wealth fund.

“The background for the decision is unacceptable risk of damage on prehistoric and irreplaceable cultural heritage,” Norges Bank stated Thursday, May 25.

Semen Indonesia and its subsidiary that operates in the South Sulawesi region, has not responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The Norwegian wealth fund is Semen Indonesia’s third-largest shareholder, with 1.6% of outstanding shares as of 2022. The shares are worth around $45 million, according to data.

Caves in South Sulawesi contains paintings that are believed to be about 44,000 years old. It’s the earliest known pictorial record of story-telling.

Earlier this week, UNESCO designated the area a ‘global geopark’. This means it’s a landscape with geological significance that should be developed sustainably.


About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

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