Indonesian research and travels
Kurt C. Friehauf 2001-2003

Five years ago, I was very lucky when Dr. Spencer Titley, a guy I only knew at the time as one of the all-time "heavy hitters" of economic geology, asked me to join him on a project studying the Grasberg-Ertsberg porphyry system in Indonesia, operated by P.T. Freeport Indonesia.   Can you imagine how ecstatic I was about that?!  It was a chance to study one of the world's greatest porphyry deposits in a mysterious and beautiful land with one of the biggest experts on the subject!  What I didn't know then was that, in addition to some interesting geology and "National Geographic" experiences, the real prize in the deal was the friendships I now have with Spence and Stacie Gibbons - both truly excellent people.  Spence is as tough as leather on the outside and a real gentleman and a scholar on the inside.  Stacie is truly unique - a really brilliant point of light.

Indonesia is by far the most culturally diverse place that I've ever been.  Indonesia is the fourth most populous country (behind only China, India, and the U.S.), has
6,000 inhabited islands (more than 17,000 islands total spread out over 3 time zones), and no single majority ethnic group (Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Madurese 7.5%, coastal Malays 7.5%, other 26%)!  Islam is the majority religion, but there are large groups of Christians, Hindus, and followers of other religions.

Most of my travels with Spence and Stacie were on a narrow strip of land on the island of West Papua near the towns of Timika and Tembagapura (built by Freeport).  We did briefly visit Jakarta and Bandung on Java, and had a wonderful, but short vacation in Denpasar on the island of Bali. 


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