MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesia: Another Child Drowns in an Abandoned Coal Mining Pit in Samarinda

Published by MAC on 2015-05-29

For another case of children drowning in unprotected mine/waste pits see Community deaths at Newmont and Chinese gold mines in Ghana

Another Child Drowns in An Abandoned Coal Mining Pit in Samarinda

JATAM East Kalimantan Press Release

28 May 2015

On the 25 May 2015, thirteen year old Ardi Bin Hasyim became the tenth child to die by drowning in an abandoned mining pit in Samarinda.

JATAM East Kalimantan, a mining advocacy network of NGOs demands that the Samarinda mayor and the East Kalimantan Governor take immediate action to prevent further deaths in dangerous abandoned mining sites that cover Samarinda, the capital city of East Kalimantan. East Kalimantan is the biggest Indonesian coal producer.

Since becoming mayor on 23 September 2010, Syaharie Jaang has not taken firm steps to revoke and evaluate the legality of mining permits that cover 70 percent of the municipality of Samarinda. When learning of the death of Ardi Bin Hasyim, the tenth child and 12th person to die by drowning in exposed mining pits, rather than face the family himself, Syaharie Jaang sent the district chief to meet with the victim’s family on the 24 May.

Andi’s parents Hasyim and Nur Aini had been searching for their son since Saturday 23 May. After two days of searching for their son they found him floating in a mining pit owned by PT Cahaya Energi Mandiri (CEM). The mining pit was two football fields wide and full of toxic coal mining tailings.

TP Cahaya Energi Mandiri supplies coal to Peabody Energy (see 2011 press release), the world’s largest coal company whose revenues reach $7 billion, and fuels 10 percent of US power and two percent of worldwide electricity.

Ardi, whose nickname is Dadi, was born deaf and with special needs. He often plays around his home together with the children in his neighborhood, and likes to watch as coal trucks and machinery pass close to his home. ‘In the morning he left to go and watch the coal mining vehicles pass by, and came home as usual at lunch time. After that he left again to the monitoring post in the mining area and returned home for his afternoon bath. Sometimes he plays outside until 9 in the evening,’ said his step-father Hasbullah, who each day collects Ardi to go home.

Suspected violations

Ardi is the tenth of nine other children to die in a hazardous abandoned coal mining pit. In an area prone to flooding, these pits fill with rain and ground water, which becomes acidic, as residual chemicals leach out a toxic mixture of heavy metal poisons.

These pits are left without any rehabilitation. Aside from PT Cahaya Energi Mandiri, other companies who have left behind exposed mining sites causing children’s deaths are PT Hymco Coal (where a child died in 2011), PT Panca Prima Mining (2011), PT Energi Cahaya Industritama (2014), and PT Graha Benua Etam (2014).

PT Cahaya Energi Mandiri was issued a permit (SK IUP 545/315/HK-KS/V/2010) and operations began on June 7, 2010 on 1680 hectares of land. The mining permit lasts to April 30 2018. JATAM East Kalimantan suspect that the

JATAM East Kalimantan visited the site three hours after the child was found dead in the mining pit filled with water. JATAM East Kalimantan says that the company PT Cahaya Energi Mandiri have violated the government Environmental Regulation No. 4 of 2012 about environmental indicators for open coal mining, which requires that mining pits must be at least 500 metres from housing settlements and public facilities. JATAM East Kalimantan observed that the hauling site is only 10 metres from the yard of landfill in the sub-district Sambutan, Samarinda.

JATAM East Kalimantan have also observed that the company have just banned fishing and swimming after the first two children died in the company’s abandoned mining site, but have not put up a sign at the edge of the mining pit, and there is no guard or fence to stop people entering the site.

The Samarinda mayor and Mining and Energy Agency have violated the 2009 Environment Law, in particular paragraph 122 which requires that public officials conduct oversight over mining concessions.

JATAM East Kalimantan ask that the Samarinda mayor and senior officials are removed from their office for negligence in fulfilling their lawful responsibilities. Indonesian Government must enforce the law!

For information about the ten child deaths in mining sites in Samarinda since 2011, please contact Mining Advocacy Network.

Media Contact:

Merah Johansyah - +62 81347882228 (Jatam East Kalimantan)
Hendrik Siregar +62 85269135520 (Jatam National Office)
Siti Maemunah +62811920462 (TKPT)

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