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Court rules mining companies can operate in protected forests

Published by MAC on 2005-07-07

Court rules mining companies can operate in protected forests

July 07, 2005

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta - Thirteen mining companies will be able to operate in protected forests in Indonesia after the country's highest court on Thursday rejected a petition by environmental groups claiming the practice violated the constitution.

The Constitutional Court chairman Jimly Asshiddiqie said changes made to the forestry law, which allowed 13 firms to resume mining in protected forests, were aimed at improving Indonesia's investment climate and did not violate the constitution.

The request to annul the changes "lacks justification and therefore must be rejected," Asshiddiqie said.

Some 150 mining firms suspended their operations in protected forests following the issuance of the 1999 forestry law.

The country's economic minister said the ruling was "good news" for investors, but green groups said it would result in further degradation of Indonesia's forests, already under threat from illegal logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and urban expansion.

Coordinating Minister for Economy Aburizal Bakrie told AP that "it will definitely (bring) more confidence in the mining sector because this has been upheld. It reinforces the rule of law."

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