Indonesian between the woods and the feesPublished by MAC on 2008-12-09
An alliance of NGOs and local people is pressing for the revocation of a gold mine contract in Indonesia..
Go for gold? Banyuwangi mine gets mixed views
The Jakarta Post
1st December 2008
The planned exploitation by a mining company of a gold deposit at a protected forest in Banyuwangi has met mixed reactions from local people and elites.
An alliance of NGOs and locals have pressed the local government and regency provincial legislative council to revoke the recommendation supporting the mining activities.
A civilian militia and those living around the mining site, however, have warned the government of negative impacts to the investment climate if the mining contract given to PT Indo Multi Niaga (PT IMN) is revoked.
IMN, which won a mining contract from the government in 2004, is planing on mining after conducting a year-long exploration of the site under the recommendations of the provincial and regency authorities in 2007.
During the exploration, which was conducted concurrently with an environmental impact study (AMDAL), the company detected an abundance of gold deposits at Tumpang Pitu protected forest in Pancer, Pesanggaran.
The company then decided to prepare for exploitation of the site, which should contribute to locally generated income and employ local workers.
Last week, thousands of people, activists and students staged a demonstration at the town, demanding local authorities annul the recommendation and propose the central government review the mining contracts. They said mining would have disastrous effects on locals and the environment.
The demonstrators, mostly fisherman, said poisonous waste would contaminate Blambangan Bay in the same way that gold mining conducted by PT Newmont Minahasa in North Sulawesi had contaminated waterways.