MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Toka Tindung's EIA study has expired

Published by MAC on 2006-01-11


Toka Tindung's EIA study has expired

by JATAM / Indonesia

11th January 2006

PT MSM should be Ordered to Halt Operation

Jakarta. There have been sufficient facts, as a requirement for the Energy and Mineral Resource Department, to stop the activity of PT. Meares Soputan Mining (Toka Tindung Project), viz. the expired Environmental Impact Analysis, the absence of Environmental Impact Analysis for Submarine Tailing Disposal, the absence of the company’s mining operation registration at the lowest administrative unit – regency and province.

And most importantly, the mining operation has made local inhabitants live in anxiety. The sluggish actions of the Energy and Mineral Department to break off Meares Soputan Mining’s operation is then questioned.

Meares Soputan Mining (MSM), a gold mining company formerly owned by Aurora Gold (Australia), had its Environmental Impact Analysis approved in 1998.

However, for several years after, the company did not do any operation until Aurora sold its ownership to Archipelago Resources (listed in the Alternative Investment Market-UK) in 2002. The latter is owned by Ocean Resources Capital Holdings plc, a UK finance/holding company which controls 44% shares (and warrants) in Archipelago. With the soaring gold price today it is strongly presumed that company will push hard to production despite troubles it has with the Environmental Impact Analysis and local community’s objection.

According to Government Decree No 27 yr. 1999 on Environmental Impact Analysis, if during three years after EIA issuance the company doesn’t commit to operation, the EIA document is considered expired. The matter was then brought to the office of Environmental Ministry who then sent team to verify the EIA status. On 19 December 2005, the Environmental Minister came out with Letter of Recommendation No B-6308/LH/12/2005 handed to the Energy and Mineral Resource Minister, requesting the halt of Meares Soputan Mining (Toka Tindung Project) operation soon, due to expired EIA document/study.

Besides that, the EIA document of MSM is also flawed due to alteration of the production capacity. Based on Article 24 (1) of the same decree, the Environmental Appropriateness Certificate is cancelled, by reason of the company’s plan to add up its production activities up to more than 100%. In other words, the Environmental Impact Analysis is cancelled if the company alters design and/or process, and/or project capacity as planned previously.

Commenting on that, Siti Maimunah, the National Coordinator of Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) said: " Besides the fact that it is illegal, mining operation yields protest from thousands of local inhabitants fearing the impact of the proposed Submarine Tailings Disposal. This project threatens the marine environment and source of living of more than 9000 fishermen along Rinondoran Bay, Bitung, and its surrounding. In its planned 5-year-long operation, Toka Tindung project will produce 160.000 ounce of gold per year and to give royalty to North Sulawesi Province of 19 billion rupiah annually.2 Meanwhile, economic value raised by fishermen around the Bay amounted Rp 54 billion per year will be destroyed or to decline as the result of Submarine Tailings Disposal".

Just before MSM, the other two controversial gold companies, Newmont Minahasa Raya and Newmont Nusa Tenggara, were also suggested by Dames and Moore to employ the STD method. only because their mining sites are close to the sea, whereas, actually, the recommendation has proven wrong with the Buyat pollution case.3

Dames and Moore also formulated Freeport’s social and environmental study in Papua. As a result of its recommendation, Ajkwa river is destroyed by Freeport’s tailings. Therefore, it is strongly presumed there is conspiracy between Environmental Impact Analysis consultant and companies to cut environmental protection cost by promoting STD in Indonesia, and even around the globe" said Torry Kuswardono from WALHI.

Notes:
1. The EIA document was designed by Dames & Moore consultant who proves to have a bad record in the mining world
2. 1 ounce of gold = 28, 4 grams. MSM produces 4,535,923,696 grams or 4.5 tons of gold per year
3. Check out http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Mineral/std1.htm
Media Contact: Adi Widianto (JATAM), email: campaigner@jatam.org

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