MAC: Mines and Communities

Stop Mining, Save the Forest and the People!

Published by MAC on 2002-06-28

Stop Mining, Save the Forest and the People!

The Indonesian Environment Minister Nabiel Makarim has given his approval to allow mining to go ahead in protected forests. This approval has been given to companies who possess a contract of work prior to the Forestry Act No. 41 becoming effective in 1999.

Some of these companies that have been given the green light to go ahead and mine in protected areas include PT.Gag Nikel (BHP Billiton), PT. Weda Bay Nikel, PT. Nusa Halmahera and PT.Citra Palu Mineral (Rio Tinto).

These measures being taken by the Environment Minister are clearly backwards with respect to the desires of the community. The government has used economic reasons while also expressing fear of being fined by mining companies.

The government apparently has not learned from past experiences where mining activities have left only environmental destruction and other major problems for the community like human rights violations, indigenous community marginalization, land alienation, poverty for local communities, horizontal conflicts, various incidences of violence and intimidation.

The government has also not taken into account the aspirations of the community that live at and near mining locations.

Immediately following the Minister's announcement, the Poboya community protested. Community protestors have visited the local House of Representative's office rejecting the changing of the status of the Poboya Community Forest Park Area into a mining area. Community demonstrations at Poboya have been going since Monday (17/6), the latest in the community efforts to stop PT Citra Palu Mineral (PT CPM) from gold mining in their protected forest area.

The following is position statement from the Poboya Community issued June 17, 2002, that reaffirms the position of the community not to allow mining to go ahead.


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