Community Statement Rejecting Placer Dome in Meratus, IndonesiaPublished by MAC on 2002-02-24
Statement Rejecting the Gold Mining Plans of Pt. Meratus Sumber Mas (Placer Dome) and Pelsart Tambang Kencana (Pelsart Resources NL) in the Meratus Area
24th February 2002
The Meratus mountain range area is a native forest area located in the province of South Kalimantan, ranging from southeast to the north and bordering the province of East Kalimantan. Facts about the Meratus area show:
1. A long history of the Meratus mountain range since the era of Dutch colonialism that up until now has been established as a protected area called the "Green Belt."
2. The Meratus area is home to a rich flora and fauna, including endemic species of Kalimantan and several of them are species that are in danger of becoming extinct. Therefore, these species need to be protected to ensure their conservation.
3. The Meratus region up until now is able to provide livelihood for thousands of the Dayak Meratus community. Exploitation on the Meratus region will result in a large part of the Dayak Meratus community losing their traditional livelihood of gathering forest products.
4. The Meratus region functions as a water catchment area that
guarantees regular irrigation and is thus a life support region. Exploitation in this area will endanger the region because there is a potential that there will be a change in the irrigation and irrigation cycles and this will cause natural disasters like heavy floods and landslides.
5. The level of destruction has become increasingly critical in this region because of various forms of exploitation like forestry and mining, both legal and illegal, that is unable to be controlled by the company in terms of monitoring and management.
6. The exploitation of the Meratus region will take away the rights of the community with respect to the management of their natural resources because the community will be forced to follow regulations and policies set out by the government and company. These regulations will not consider traditional laws of the local community.
7. A basic commitment has been agreed upon by all NGOs in South, East and Central Kalimantan to defend the Meratus region as a protected area and keep it free from all forms of exploitation.
8. Several rejections on efforts to change the function of the Meratus region have been done by concerned South Kalimantan Dayak citizens via Lembaga Musyawarah Masyarakat Dayak (LMMD - KS)
9. Relating with the plans of Placer Dome and Pelsart Resource NL to mine in Meratus, several facts show that:
a) Up until now, Placer Dome has never socialized with the community about their activities. Although, the company was at the initial exploration phase, this was never made known to the community or the local government. This violates the community's rights on the right to gain clear information about investment activities.
b) The Placer Dome exploration concession area is overlapping with protected forest area and the Meratus natural reserve. Whereas, this area is a native forest area in South Kalimantan.
c) The exploration concession area that is planned to be exploited includes a traditional mining region. Therefore, there is a large potential that the exploitation of this region will lead to a conflict with the traditional mining community.
With the above mentioned facts, we together state that we REJECT the mining plans of Placer Dome and Pelsart Resources NL via the PT Meratus Sumber Mas and Pelsart Tambang Kencana companies, that is currently entering the exploration stage. We also reject the plans of Placer Dome to consult with Australian NGOs and other parties in February 2002.
We also call on all parties to act with transparency on any plans related to the management of the Meratus region.
This statement was released so that the pubic is aware of the community's position.
Banjarmasin, 24 February 2002
Statement signed by :
1. Aliansi Meratus
2. Wahana Lingkungan Hidup -South Kalimantan
3. Lembaga Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Adat, South Borneo
4. Yayasan Cakrawala Hijau Indonesia
5. Lembaga Bina Potensia Barabai, Central Hulu Sungai
6. Yayasan Dalas Hangit
7. Lembaga bantuan Hukum Nusantara, Banjarmasin
8. Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Banjarmasin
9. Lembaga Kajian Keislaman dan Kemasyarakatan, Banjarmasin
10. Lembaga Advokasi Masyarakat Saijaan, Kota Baru
11. Yayasan Dinamika Inovasi Swadaya Amuntai, North Hulu Sungai
12. Forest Watch Indonesia Kalimantan
13. Jaringan Advokasi Tambang (JATAM)
14. Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara -South Kalimantan
Please visit http://www.jatam.org/english.htm for more information on the Meratus region.