NGOs call for mining and logging moratorium in South Kalimantan's forests
Source: MiningIndo.com, November 19, 2002
In a press statement released in Jakarta on Saturday, (November 16), 27 environmental and mining advocacy non governmental organisations (NGOs) demanded the Indonesian government immediately impose a moratorium on all mining and forestry (logging) activities throughout the forests of South Kalimantan. The activists also demanded the government reject all future plans for mining and logging activities within traditional and protected forests in the province. Both the government and mining firms were urged to reclaim the environmentally damaged and impacted areas caused by the activities. They also asked the government to conduct reforestation programs to restore the forests. Current legislation must be upheld and offenders prosecuted while respecting the tradition and rights of local communities the statement said.
South Kalimantan is one of Indonesia's richest provinces blessed with natural resources including the lucrative timber and mining sectors, particularly in coal. The region has been used for years by governments, large Indonesian companies linked to government and national security forces, and by foreign firms, as a financial ""cash cow"" the statement asserts. To give an idea of the natural resource potential within the province, the NGO statement cited coal reserves in the province as at January, 1999 as 4.2 billion tonnes, comprising 2 billion tons of proven reserves, 1.7 billion tons of indicated reserves, and 459 million tons of probable reserves. According to information contained in the press release, only one year later those reserves had dropped 96% to only 153.7 million tons, comprising 75 million tons of indicated reserve and 77 million tons of proven reserve.
In the 15 years from 1984 to 1999 about 105,445,570.44 tons of coal were produced in the province for an average annual production of 7.7 million tons, but there has yet to be a significant improvement in the welfare of the local communities. Only a few people have enjoyed the benefits from the coal mining operations while the environment has been badly degraded. Night and day heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and dump trucks keep on working to heavily exploit the land. People from the local communities just look at the activities from the sidelines, suffer from ashes and dust, and enjoy nothing from their own land's riches. One area in south east Kalimantan relatively unspoiled is the Meratus ranges. But even here the NGOs claim there has deteriorated. Destruction to the naturally preserved Mount Meratus as a ground water catchments looms large in the future. The high elevation of Mount Meratus is also critically important to preservation of top soil and prevention of erosion, landslides, and water run-off that could cause flooding on the lower slopes of the ranges.
Mining and logging operations over the past decade or more have degraded the environmental quality while the traditional values and rights of local people are ignored. This is why a number of NGOs that have a deep concern for the environment have staged a protest to the government. Some of the 27 NGOs who supported the press statement are the Mapala and local people, Walhi's chapter of South Kalimantan, Yayasan SUMPIT, LMMDKS, LSM Samba, SERUNI Kalsel, GEMPUR, LMMD HSU, YCHI, Mapala Gramenia, Mapala Justitia, and the Dayak tribe council or Lembaga Adat Masyarakat Dayak Pitap (LAMDP).
JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang)
Mining Advocacy Network
Jl. Mampang Prapatan II No. 30
RT 04/07 -- Jakarta 12790
Tel. +62-(0)21-794 1559
Fax. +62-(0)21-791 81683