MAC: Mines and Communities

Many Mining Firms Skip Health Studies

Published by MAC on 2007-03-09

Many Mining Firms Skip Health Studies

Jakarta Post

9th March 2007

Many mining companies operating in the country are yet to conduct studies on health risks for nearby residents despite an official requirement to do so before they commence operations, an environmental health expert said Thursday. Haryoto Kusnoputranto from the University of Indonesia said the absence of health risk assessments would make it difficult for residents to blame mining companies for the emergence of related medical conditions in the future.

"This is a complex situation. Residents often claim that the presence of mining companies is to blame for their health deteriorating. On the other hand, the companies blame the residents due to the poor condition of their environment, such as problems with sanitation," Haryoto told reporters after a seminar on mining and environmental health.

The assessment is part of a requirement to conduct an environmental impact analysis (locally known as Amdal) before being granted a mining license. Such studies would specify the risks of mining activities to nearby residents, including pollutants that could harm their health. "The studies should be conducted as a minimum requirement for companies to inform residents as to whether or not their activities can potentially affect human health," he said. -- JP

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