NGO COALITION DEMANDS THAT SOUPUTAN STOPS MINING GOLDPublished by MAC on 2005-12-23
NGO COALITION DEMANDS THAT SOUPUTAN STOPS MINING GOLD
Original in Bahasa Indonesia, English translation by DTE
23th December 2005
A coalition of environmental NGOs is pressing that PT Meares Soputan Mining (PT MSM) stop its gold mining activities in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Their reasoning is that they know the Environment Impact Assessment carried out for this UK-based company has expired. (Under Indonesian law, a valid EIA is necessary before any large-scale project can take place.) “This gold mining operation is causing concern to the local community,” said Siti Maimunah, co-ordinator of the mining advocacy network JATAM at her office on Friday.
JATAM is questioning why the North Sulawesi govenor issued an official letter of Environmental Acceptability which stated that PT Meares Soputan Minining’s EIA was still valid even though the company was planning to more than double the scale of its activities. “An EIA is invalid if the implementing company changes the design or capacity of the original plan, ” said Siti.
Another reason why this NGO is demanding a halt to this gold mining operation is that it will dump its mining waste into the ocean though a Submarine Tailing Disposal system (STD). “This project threatens the livelihoods of 9 million fisherfolk in Rinondoran Bay,” said Siti.
She explained that, with a production capacity of 160,000oz per year, this project will generate annual royalties of Rp19bn (nearly US$2 million) for the province of North Sulawesi. However, this gold mine would damage the economic potential of fisheries in Rinondoran Bay worth at least Rp54bn (over US$5 million) per year. "This is due to disposing of mining waste in local waters,” she said.
Pantoro Kuswardono, the mining & energy campaigner of the Indonesian environmental network WALHI, questioned the recommendation of technical consultants Dames & Moore who advised the use of STD for mines in coastal areas. “Dames & Moore’s recommendations have been proved wrong in the cases of Newmont Minahasa Raya in Buyat Bay and Freeport in the Ajkwa River, West Papua,” he said.