Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Activists, indigenous people protest against irresponsible mining activities

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Gusty da Costa

Journalist

Editor

Interview

Dozens of activists of the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) and representatives of residents living in eastern Indonesia provinces held a sit-in as the Indonesian Nickel and Cobalt Conference was underway at the Mulia Hotel in Jakarta on Thursday, June 13, 2024.

“We call out to the international community that nickel mining in Indonesia is marred with the destruction of people’s living space, food space and other sources of life,” Alfarhat Kasman of Jatam said.

“As an impact, for example, some 35 residents of Wawoni Island in Sulawesi were criminalized by the police when they asked for a better and cleaner living space,” he cited an example.

Wawoni is a small island in Sulawesi where a private nickel mining company is operating.

Currently, there are around 380 nickel mining licenses with a concession area of almost one million hectares. There have been reports of land grabbing at nickel mining locations which had resulted in the loss of food space, social conflict, violence and intimidation, criminalization, water, air and sea pollution, as well as destruction of forest areas that trigger the loss of water catchment areas and deforestation.

The need for electrical energy to sustain nickel mining operations, including electric vehicle recharging stations in Indonesia, has also fuelled the expansion of coal offloading on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra. The process of burning coal in the nickel industry’s power plants has also caused air pollution, disrupting the residents’ health of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“We would like to send a strong warning to (potential) investors, financial institutions and banks, as well as (potential) nickel consumers in Indonesia that nickel companies are allegedly key actors in the expansion and acceleration of destruction of the environment and the people’s living space,” Alfarhat said.

Jatam urges potential investors to halt investment plans in the nickel and EV mining sectors in Indonesia. Jatam also reminds that behind the ease of regulation issued by the government to (potential) investors, there are allegations of corruption that are detrimental to state finances and the people’s economy.

Jatam therefore demands that all parties stop nickel investment (upstream and downstream) in Indonesia and encourage law enforcement against the perpetrators.

Gusty da Costa

Journalist

 

Editor

 

Interview

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