MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesian parliament to decline approval of mining in protected forest

Published by MAC on 2004-04-20

A Special Commission of the Indonesian parliament has angrily rejected the recent decision by the government to open up protected forests to mining, while grassroots movements reject the bylaw.

DPR to decline approval of mining in protected forest

Miningindo news

April 20, 2004

Speaker of commission VIII of the Indonesian national parliament (DPR) Irwan Prayitno said, if the regulation in lieu of law (Perpu) no.1/2004 concerning the approval of 13 companies to mine in protected forests is passed to the DPR,vmost of the DPR's members will definitely reject it.

The Perpu is regarded as an effort by the central government to exclude the DPR in making the crucial decision and the government seems to ignore the possibility of bad impacts of the mining activities in protected forests to the surrounding environments.

Prayitno told Investor Daily on Apr.19 in Jakarta, the Perpu was issued because the DPR had yet to make any decision onwhether or not to allow those mining operators to continue their activities in protected forests. It has been one year that the process of approval for mining in protected forestsis not yet completed.

The pros and cons among the DPR's members remain to exist over the approval for mining operators in the overlapping areas between the mining and forestry sectors. Because of having been really hard to ask for approval from the DPR, the central government eventually made a decision to issues the Perpuno.1/2004.

It was issued when the DPR was in recess. It was perceived that the central government wanted to leave the DPR in making the decision over the protracting case of the approval for mining operations in the overlapping areas. Moreover, the central government could predict that it would be very tough for the government to discuss the case with the DPR and it was for sure that the DPR would eventually reject the proposition for the approval of the mining activities in the overlapping areas between the mining and forestry sectors, which are now regarded as parts of the protected forests of the country.

Following the issuance of the Perpu, all the points of the case will go to the hand of the central government. "But it has to be made clear that the DPR definitely want the government to reconsider the issuance of the Perpu. The government should be aware that benefits of, say, 10 years might have to be paid off with forever destruction of environment," warned Prayitno. But he admitted that the government could be credible in finding the best solution over the overlapping case.

The government issued Perpu 1/2004 because it wanted to solve the overlapping problem between the mining and forestry sectors. Perpu I/2004 issued on March 11, 2004 would eventually allow 13 mining companies to go ahead with their activities in protected forests. The decision was made at a restricted cabinet meeting directly chaired by President Megawati Soekarnoputri and attended by coordinating minister of economy Dorodjatun Kuntjoro Jakti, minister of justice and human rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra, minister of energy and mineral resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro, minister of forestry M Prakoso, and minister of State's Secretary Bambang Kesowo.

Thirteen out of the 22 proposed mining companies would be prioritized by the government in view that they have had obvious data of the mineral reserves, which are economically feasible to mine. Meanwhile, for the time being the remaining nine mining companies might not be allowed to go ahead with their mining activities in the overlapping areas.

But the issuance of the Perpu was protested by the Indonesian coalition of environmental NGOs. The coalition of NGOs urged the DPR to revoke the Perpu because the process and substantiation of the Perpu were regarded legally flawed. Even, one day after the issuance of the Perpu, a number of DPR's members also condemned the government for not involving them in making such a crucial decision.

Palu students reject mining bylaw

The Jakarta Post

April 23, 2004

Palu, Central Sulawesi - At least 100 Palu student activists from the Students Against Mining League stated their opposition to Bylaw No.1/2004 on permission to carry out mining in protected forests. Their objection was made before officials from the provincial government on Thursday, and was filled with anticapitalist protest.

The protest continued as officials listened to students from Senate Executive Boards of various universities in Palu, who demanded the Central Sulawesi government reject the bylaw on the grounds that it could result in damage to the environment.

Having issued the bylaw, the government they said, had mortgaged the forests in the interests of capitalists who never sided with the public.

Andi Akbar from Tadulako University's Senate Executive Board said issuance of the bylaw would clearly destroy the forest park in Peboya, West Palu, and the wildlife reserve in Bangkiriang, Banggai regency. Both areas are scheduled for exploration in the near future as they both have huge mineral deposits.

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