TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: East Sulawesi Provincial Administration reinstated demand for the Brazilian-controlled nickel miner Inco which operates in three provinces in Sulawesi to return 108,000 hectares of mining area to the regional government to be handed to other investors, blaming Inco for taking several strategic decisions without consulting the regional government.
Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo said on Tuesday after a closed meeting with executives from Inco at Hotel Clarion, “We were stressing the government's position against Inco in order (to provide) the unexploited area for the interests of the regional government.”
“Just return the around 100,000 hectares of land to the regional government to be offered to other investors. Provincial government will guarantee the continuation of Inco's mining inSorowako” Syahrul said adding that Inco did not have other choice because the concession area will be used to improve the economy of the region.
Syahrul said the request was made after several disappointing decisions by Inco which include the ownership change from the canadian Vale to brazilian CRVD, job cuts, including handover of many concession areas by Inco to other companies.
“All policies from Inco should be consulted with the regional government and new agrement should be made whenever a new business is being ventured."
The Regional Government Relation and Communication Manager Tri Rahman Batara said on Wednesday, Inco will only stick to the existing regulations signed with the government in the working contract which provides a concession area of 118,000 hectares for Inco.
The company holds a 30 year mining contract for 218,500 hectares of areas in three provinces in the island South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, and Southeast Sulawesi.
Inco have so far exploited 10,000 hectares of the total 118,000 hectrares of concession areas in Sorowako, in East Luwu Regency South Sulawesi but had reportedly explored all the areas with expansion plan of around 1,000 hectares per year.
The first 30 year-term of mining concession with the government was expired in 2008, but the extension for another 30 years of mining rights was already signed in 1996.