Merauke District is scheduled to become an independent city (kota) separate from Merauke Regency, and will become the administrative capital of the proposed South Papua Province, when that is established.
Much of the area of Merauke Regency is covered by forests. MIFEE (Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate) is a project for use of a big area for industry and also palm oil and food crops agriculture including land grabbing. MIFEE is supported by the national government. There is much indigenous opposition to the MIFEE project. The MIFEE project is expected to cover a 1.2 million hectare area, or a quarter of Merauke. The project threatens conservation areas, such as virgin forests and water catchment areas, as well as the habitat of indigenous peoples in Papua. There were substantial forest fires.Freeport McMoran copper and gold mine has displaced thousands of Papuans and has destroyed vast stretches of pristine forest.