MAC: Mines and Communities

Poboya Community Statement - Rejection of Gold Mining in Poboya

Published by MAC on 2002-06-28

Stop Mining, Save the Forest and the People!

The Indonesian Environment Minister Nabiel Makarim has given his approval to allow mining to go ahead in protected forests. This approval has been given to companies who possess a contract of work prior to the Forestry Act No. 41 becoming effective in 1999.

Some of these companies that have been given the green light to go ahead and mine in protected areas include PT.Gag Nikel (BHP Billiton), PT. Weda Bay Nikel, PT. Nusa Halmahera and PT.Citra Palu Mineral (Rio Tinto).

These measures being taken by the Environment Minister are clearly backwards with respect to the desires of the community. The government has used economic reasons while also expressing fear of being fined by mining companies.

The government apparently has not learned from past experiences where mining activities have left only environmental destruction and other major problems for the community like human rights violations, indigenous community marginalization, land alienation, poverty for local communities, horizontal conflicts, various incidences of violence and intimidation.

The government has also not taken into account the aspirations of the community that live at and near mining locations.

Immediately following the Minister's announcement, the Poboya community protested. Community protestors have visited the local House of Representative's office rejecting the changing of the status of the Poboya Community Forest Park Area into a mining area. Community demonstrations at Poboya have been going since Monday (17/6), the latest in the community efforts to stop PT Citra Palu Mineral (PT CPM) from gold mining in their protected forest area.

The following is position statement from the Poboya Community issued June 17, 2002, that reaffirms the position of the community not to allow mining to go ahead.


Poboya Community Statement - Rejection of Gold Mining in Poboya

Poboya, 28 June 2002

Re: Rejection of Gold Mining in Poboya


1. Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR-RI);
2. President of the Republic of Indonesia;
3. Indonesian Minister of the Environment;
4. Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources;
5. Indonesian Minister of Forestry;
6. Indonesian Minister of Eastern Area Development;

Our Indigenous Lands are not for Gold Mining!!

We hold the government plans to change the status of Poboya, our indigenous lands located just east of Palu, into a gold mining area as a future disaster for us. We have come to this conclusion based on the reality that the mining industry wherever they operate have always caused bad impacts for the community and surrounding environment. We regard the experiences of the Kelian community with the PT KEM operations, the Buyat Bay community with the PT Newmont Minahasa Raya operations and the Amungme community with the PT. Freeport operations and many other mining cases elsewhere too numerous to mention as experiences of human rights violations, sexual abuses and environmental and ecosystem destruction that we do not want to happen to us. Experiences in several areas mentioned above are evidence, whether hidden or highlighted, that community rights have been alienated and the environment has been destroyed by the mining industry.

For this, we the Poboya community, whose lands have been under exploration phases three times with the drilling of forty-one test pits state that:

1. Gold mining plans by PT. CPM, having received approval from the government, mainly the central government, will take over our lands and forests that we have wisely managed. We, the communities, who will certainly feel the impacts from this mining, among others are from the villages and settlements of Tondo (especially Vatutela), Lasoani, Kavatuna, Ngatabaru, Tanamodindi as well as the whole city of Palu.

2. The aspects of the proposed gold mining project have never been made known to the community as owners and managers of the forest nor has the project ever received approval from these groups. Because of this, we firmly state that WE, THE POBOYA COMMUNITY REJECT THIS GOLD MINING !!!

3. The forest area being proposed to be turned into a gold mining area by PT. CPM and the government, once again are our lands, the lands of the local community. These lands have been wisely managed for a long time, long before the government designated the area as a Forest Park area. For as long as we have managed this forest, there has been no environmental destruction as a result of being managed based on our cultural wisdom. With the existence of the gold mining project, the community in and around the forest will certainly lose access to their forest and natural resources, only to be taken over by gold mining interests. Other than that, the area that will become the mining project area is one of the main suppliers of drinking water for the community in the Palu Valley. With the existence of this gold mining project, the community that generally lives in the Palu Valley will be threaten with a lack in drinking water. For this, once again, we firmly state WE REJECT THE GOLD MINING PROJECT BY PT. CPM OR OTHER MINING COMPANIES!!!

4. As communities dwelling in and around the forest area that is planned to be turned into a gold mining area, call on all NGOs and community-based organizations to immediately protest this gold mining project.

5. OPPOSE all efforts by the government, PT CPM and others who are forcing their will and/or are trying to moderate the community into accepting this gold mining project.

6. STRONGLY PROTEST the position of the central government that is taking into account more the interests of finding profits, for the government and for PT. CPM, rather than considering the interests of the community, as owners and managers of the forest. Changing the status of the forest area will take away the rights to life of those living in and around this area because it is this forest that has up until now provided life for us.

7. Call on all communities in the city of Palu and Central Sulawesi as well as the national and international public to support our position.

This protest statement has been drafted for the attention of all parties, mainly the government, PT. Citra Palu Mineral and/or other companies. (Signatures Attached)

1. Governor, Head of Central Sulawesi Level I
2. Head of Central Sulawesi House of Representatives
3. Mayor, Head of Palu Area Level II
4. Head of Palu City Local House of Representatives
5. Head of Central Sulawesi Local Environmental Impact Control Agency (Bapedalda)
6. Head of Central Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation House (BKSDA)
7. Head of Tadulako University Environmental Study Center
8. PT. Citra Palu Mineral/PT. Rio Tinto
9. PT. Newcrest
10. WALHI and all NGO networks
11. Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) National Secretariat in Jakarta
12. Head of Agrarian Reform Consortium Implementation Body (BP-KPA) in Bandung;
13. Participative Mapping Working Network Secretariat (JKPP) in Bogor;
14. Community Forest System Support Secretariat (KPSHK);
15. Community Advocacy and Study Foundation (LSAM);
16. Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YBHI);
17. Indonesian Legal Aid Union (PBHI);
18. KEHATI Indonesia;
19. All Indonesian Agrarian Reform and Peasant Movement Networks;
20. All Indonesian Indigenous Organizations;
21. National and local media;
22. Archives

N.B.: Copy of 245 Signatures available at JATAM.

JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang)
Mining Advocacy Network
Jl. Mampang Prapatan II No. 30
RT 04/07 -- Jakarta 12790
Tel. +62-(0)21-794 1559
Fax. +62-(0)21-791 81683

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