Mon, 25 Oct 2010

Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA News) - Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf said the local government will not shut down PT Lhong Setia Mining`s iron ore mining activities in Aceh Besar district following a report the company dumped mud into rice field.

"So far PT Lhong Setia Mining has not committed any violation that may prompt the Aceh administration to revoke its operational permit," he said here on Sunday.

He was responding to a spate of student rallies protesting against the company`s activities with some of the demonstrators vandalizing the gubernatorial office`s fence in Banda Aceh recently.

"The problem is that the company has made a small mistake by allowing mud water to flow to the local residents` rice field. Of course, the company can correct the mistake which is part of its responsibilities," he said.

He said the Aceh government remained committed to preserving the environment. "Never cast doubt about my commitment to the environment and green Aceh program. The two matters will always serve as main reference of Aceh`s development," he said.

Irwandi said he had held dialogs with residents of Lhong subdistrict where the company is operating.

"The residents stated they don`t want the company to abandon its activities there. They want a change (for the better)," he said.

He said the local government was committed not to recklessly issuing mining permits to would-be investors. "We have no right to prohibit nor reject whoever wants to invest in Aceh, including investment in the mining sector. However, the regulations including tight requirements must be complied with," he said. (*)