Thu, 13 Oct 1994

Illegal mining hurts environment

JAKARTA (JP): A Non-Government Organization wants a private company prosecuted for illegally operating an open pit mine that has destroyed the environment near Bogor.

Director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) Mas Achmad Santosa said that the company, PT Gamidhana Putera Sela Adhi, should compensate the locals for destroying their environment with dynamite.

Santosa stated in his letter to Bogor Mayor Eddy Yoso Martadipura that the operation had rendered the villagers' land infertile and cracked the foundations of their houses. The illegal mining activities also caused landslides and damaged roads and a nearby dam. The villagers suffered from the continual loud explosions as well.

The local government banned the company on Monday because its operation license had expired on Jan. 13, 1993. This is not enough, Santosa stressed. He said that the government must consistently enforce environmental laws and bring the delinquent company to court.

Last April, the Bogor District Court sentenced the director of two sand excavation companies to six months in jail and fined him Rp 750,000 (US$360) for failing to mend the environmental damage his company had caused.

ICEL learned about the unlawful open pit mine from 12 residents from the Cikuda village in the Parung Panjang district and from Kertajaya village in the Rumpin district. They lodged their complaint with the organization and the National Human Rights Commission as well.

Santosa said that the Home Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Mining and Energy had issued regulations to prevent pit mining which jeopardized the environment. The mining continued because of the local mining authority was unwilling to shut them down. The local government's policies emphasize revenue more than the environment.


"If the existing regulations are fully implemented, illegal mining and indiscriminate exploitation of the environment can be minimized," Santosa said.

He said that the local monitoring agency does not work, and that pit mining licenses are issued without considering the impact on the environment.(sim)